Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan spoke to the media shortly after his team lost 30-15 to Argentina and were eliminated from the 2007 World Cup. See below for the quotes.
ON HIS CONTRACT AS IRELAND COACH:
“I’m totally committed to this job. I still have a contract to run and every intention of seeing it though. I have the appetite for the job and I want to see it out. This has been a tough World Cup, no question about it.
“Things haven’t gone to plan but that’s no reason to walk away. I’ve never walked away from a challenge in my life and I don’t intend to start now.”
ON HOW THE SQUAD PLAYED AND TOURNAMENT EXPECTATIONS:
“I have a lot of faith in this team and in these players. If you just think back to six months ago, this same team was playing great rugby. They don’t become a bad team in six months and there are still some great players in this side.
“The sad thing for them is that they’re out of the World Cup. We created a lot of expectation for this team, but that expectation was based on the performances we put in over a long period of time rather than any false notions about ourselves.
“We have always prided ourselves in our performances and set the bar high for ourselves. We have come up short on expectation and that’s the most disappointing thing.
“Obviously, there is a bit of soul-searching to be done when you come to a tournament like this and don’t get the results you wanted but we’ll sit down and review the tournament and hopefully come up with some answers.
“It’s sad for the players to have it end so abruptly, but that’s the way it is – we’ll have to live with what happened and move on from here.”
ON THE ARGENTINA GAME AND THE APPROACH TO IT:
“Circumstances were different from four years ago (against Argentina) when a one point win sufficed to get us across the finishing line. We had a different agenda in this game, having to score four tries and stop them from taking a bonus point. That coloured the way we played, or more importantly how we were forced to play the game.
“They were happy to kick the ball deep and force us to up the pace of the game from far out positions. I think we played as much as we could for the 80 minutes, but we weren’t given the opportunity to attack them much from advantageous positions.
“We really had to go out there and attack this game in a bid to try to score four tries. It sometimes happens that when you force a game, attacking from behind the gain line, you tend to get turned over.”
ON IRELAND’S WORLD CUP FORM AND PREPARATIONS:
“It was probably like that from the start – we never settled into the kind of rugby I know the team is capable of playing. We coughed up a lot in the opening two games and we made a number of errors in each of those matches. It never got better after that.
“The players were very well prepared for this. They were all happy with the balance of conditioning and rugby and there was nothing to suggest otherwise.
“We have moved on considerably from four years ago. The trouble is that other teams have moved on as well, and have become more physical. We came up against two of the strongest teams in the world from that point of view.”
ON TEAM SELECTION THROUGHOUT THE TOURNAMENT:
“When you sit down to pick your team, you always pick what you think is your best 15 to get the job done. I’ve been known as a conservative coach for the past five and a half years in that area but I’ve always been of the opinion that you don’t make change for change’s sake.
“And we did make some changes in the tournament, probably not as many as people felt we should have, but I always believed I put the right 22 out there.”