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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Ireland 20 Argentina 43 – In The Players’ Words

Ireland 20 Argentina 43 – In The Players’ Words

Read post-match reaction from some of the players involved in today’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final between Ireland and Argentina in Cardiff.

CHRIS HENRY: “A slow start from us and we were playing a quality side. It just felt like every time you got the ball you got the chop. They were flying off the line and I don’t think we’ve come across a team that really gets off the line and chops people so hard.

“Chatting to the lads after, they found it really difficult to get over the gain-line, which is something we’re good at, building phases.

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“We worked hard to come back (from 17 points down) obviously and in the second half I thought the momentum was turning for us. Unfortunately we were beaten by a much better side today.

“When you invest so much time and effort and see what everyone else has given as well all the players, it’s a tough day but that’s sport, the way it is.”

DEVIN TONER: “Obviously we’re hugely disappointed. This is the first knockout game that I’ve been involved in, in a Rugby World Cup. The first thing we want to do is to thank everyone for the support we’ve had over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully we’ll be able to learn and move on from it, but it’s hard at the moment.

“A team is always going to miss players of that calibre (like Paul O’Connell and Jonathan Sexton), but it’s not going to be an excuse for us.

“We do have a lot of strength in depth and we do have a lot of faith in it. But when you lose someone like Paulie, when you lose someone like Johnny, it is hard. Again, I won’t make any excuses for it though, we just weren’t good enough.

“Against a team that good, we can’t afford to let them go 17 points up without answer. It’s just not good enough. We said during the week how they’re one of the most dangerous sides out there. They’ve got such fast backs, they’re just quality all over the pitch, so we can’t afford those first 20 minutes.

“We were just saying, ‘stick to the game-plan, stick to what we know best, stick to what’s worked for us for the last couple of weeks’. We obviously knew that we weren’t getting people around the corner, we were very narrow in the ruck, and we needed to get it out wide.”

DAVE KEARNEY: “They put the ball wide a lot and had us stretched at the edge. It just felt that they had a lot of space to work with out wide. It’s all part of the line speed again, our line speed wasn’t as good as it was last week. When we did the phases against the French it really paid off. We just weren’t allowed to start doing it today.

“I suppose it (Argentina’s dominant back-three) comes back to defence and we probably got a bit tight at times in and around the ruck. One pass was taking out four or five of our players and we were finding ourselves with a two or three-man overlap and it was tough to deal with.”

JUAN MARTIN FERNANDEZ LOBBE: “We have had the chance to play in the four nations (Rugby Championship) and everyone has worked hard for that. It’s true we have benefited because it means we play against the best in the world, six times a year.

“Also to play with the best and with a technical team with a very clear idea of what we want to do with the ball. Every time the ball came down on our side, what was most beautiful was that each time we tried to play it. We played our game and we deserved to be there. We didn’t steal anything.

“Everybody dreams, everyone wants to get to the final, but it has to start with reality and we have to win the semi-final (against Australia).

“We have a clear idea of what we want to produce and we all believe in our game-plan. The team is a young one but they all want to play and do their own thing. We all live and die by our game. I’m having fun like a child. I love to play with the ball.”

JUAN IMHOFF: “It was a very tough game. We worked hard to get this victory, now we want to enjoy the moment but we know we’ve got another hard game to come. We are a very good team in offence, we attack very well. But today our defence made the difference.”