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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Coach & Captain’s Verdict: Ireland 16 Italy 9

Coach & Captain’s Verdict: Ireland 16 Italy 9

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and captain Paul O’Connell spoke to the media following the hard-earned one-try win over Italy in Pool D of the Rugby World Cup.

JOE SCHMIDT –

ON IRELAND’S PERFORMANCE:

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“I think we have been lulled into a false sense of security having played two tier 2 teams (Canada and Romania). Italy had a win-at-all-costs attitude and that made it tough for us and at times we made it tough for ourselves.

“Sometimes it’s just not your day. In the context of that, we are delighted to get the result and qualify for the quarter-finals. I said last week I would take a one-point win. I would rather not though, but sometimes you have to win ugly.”

ON JOSH FURNO’S TRY-SCORING CHANCE:

Pete O’Mahony did just enough to put him in touch. We were stretched at times, even the try (from Keith Earls) came a little bit too easy, too early in the game and we switched off a bit. We believed things would happen rather than we had to make them happen and they almost made us pay for that.”

ON FACING FRANCE NEXT:

“The weeks keep getting bigger and bigger. The next one is huge. In the end we have qualified, but either of the opposition in the quarter-final will not be easy at all (Argentina or New Zealand). Both will be favourites to beat us.

“They (France) are armed with more weaponry than we saw today and we will have to be more accurate than we were today. I will be doing a lot of analysis over the next 24-48 hours and hopefully will come up with a plan and put it in place.”

ON PETER O’MAHONY’S SIN-BINNING:

“It is what they (officials) are looking for. If you look hard enough you will find something. We have to be whiter than white.”

ON THE QUALITY OF ITALY:

“We let them get too much ball back. We tended to give back a lot of the ball we got. It was pretty difficult to break them down. I said earlier in the week they are difficult to break down, particularly when they are up for it.”

PAUL O’CONNELL –

ON THE FRUSTRATIONS OF THE MATCH:

“You have to hold on to the ball to see what you can do with the ball. For us it’s all about having the ball. At times we were inaccurate with ball in hand. It is probably a timely reminder of where we need to be. There’s too much quality in the rest of the competition.

“When we have big games we have been good at adapting and we need to do that again next weekend.”

ON THE FLAT PERFORMANCE:

“When you make mistakes and concede penalties, it flattens the performance and you can’t get into any sort of rhythm. To turn it over, it takes the edge off it a little bit and that is something we have to deal with. We probably did not do that well today.”