Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and captain Jamie Heaslip spoke to the media following the 43-20 defeat by Argentina in today’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final.
JOE SCHMIDT –
ON THE GAME:
“It’s pretty hard not to respect the performance that Argentina put on. Their combination of power and pace made it very difficult to win collisions either side of the ball.
“That allowed them to get off to a very good start and we put ourselves under pressure. I thought we showed good character to put ourselves back into the match and to be 23-20 down and for a kick (from Ian Madigan) to shave past the upright to make it 23-all.
“We were lacking a bit of experience and a few cool heads to manage certain areas of the field. We were possibly over-committed at times and got caught short when they came down the wide channels. They certainly have some players with great footwork and pace.
“As difficult as it is to be going out of the World Cup at this stage, I think we will learn from our performance. We have players who have never previously been in a match of that intensity and hopefully that learning experience will help us in the future.
“Obviously the dressing room is very disappointed and it is difficult, but unfortunately that is the nature of the game.”
ON WHETHER HE EXPECTED ARGENTINA TO START SO STRONGLY:
“We expected them to do what they did. We looked at their first pool game and they did exactly the same against the All Blacks and were probably unlucky not to be ahead more than they were.
“We had worked really hard to try and prepare a solution, but they made the most of their two early chances and building the scoreboard pressure gave them some real confidence.
“It probably dented the confidence of our group and though they were not overawed by the occasion, it was certainly a big occasion for them and it did make it difficult.”
ON THE ABSENCE OF THE INJURED PAUL O’CONNELL AND OTHERS:
“The one thing I would say is that Chris Henry and Jordi Murphy did a tremendous job and Dev Toner and Iain Henderson were tireless. Ian Madigan acquitted himself incredibly well and I was really proud of the way those guys stepped up. I also know the players who were not available are incredibly proud of them too.”
ON TOMMY BOWE’S FIRST HALF INJURY:
“I have only spoken to him briefly and he is not even sure exactly what the injury is. He doesn’t feel too bad right now but he certainly wasn’t able to go on. It’s a knee injury and could be a ligament injury. But that’s just supposition at this stage.”
JAMIE HEASLIP –
ON THE BACK ROW BATTLE:
“I thought it was going to be a big battle and it was. The way they loom for mismatches makes it difficult. They are also very abrasive around the ruck.
“You have to get the collective together, which we did, and at 23-20 it could have been a very different game. But when you are chasing the game against a side like that, it is always going to be quite hard.”