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Ireland Spend 'Honest Days' In Review Room After England Embarrassment

Ireland Spend 'Honest Days' In Review Room After England Embarrassment
By PJ Browne

Like a man who has emerged from a car crash alive but with a bone sticking out through his leg, Conor Murray admits there are concerns regarding the overall health of Ireland's prospects heading into the World Cup.

In Saturday's collision with England, Ireland came off by far second best, conceding eight tries and 57 points in total. Murray feels surgery will be required before Joe Schmidt's side depart for Japan.

"You wear it for a long time, don’t you?" said Murray of the capitulation at Twickenham.

That was our record defeat. It was a really tough week. Very honest couple of days in the review room trying to iron out the mistakes.

We did a great eight week block of pre-season and we were feeling really good - I felt great going into the game - but for reasons we have looked at, for reasons that are fixable, for that amount of things to go wrong and look flat and look tired was concerning but not to the point that we can’t fix it.

We went to Portugal on the Wednesday. We trained hard Thursday and Saturday, then we had a normal test match week and build-up. Sometimes, whether your preparation is really good or not, your first game back is always going to be tough, you find it hard to get your second wind.

It’s not an excuse - and I’d hate to try and use an excuse - but they (England) were two games in [and] it was a lot of [our] lads’ first game. Lots of lads looked fatigued. That’s where that excuse ends.

It probably makes everyone a little bit nervous now, that’s not the performance we’re after. We deserved that beating the way we showed up. I can see us fixing an awful lot of that.

Ireland's generally perfect lawn was riddled with weeds of what Murray called "uncharacteristic" errors. That included an alarming 37 missed tackles.

English pundits have purred about the performance of Eddie Jones's team on Saturday - some have made them favourites to win the World Cup - but Murray believes they cannot take all the praise. Many points racked up under their name were simply down to lax defending from Ireland.

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Ireland Rugby star Conor Murray was on hand in Aviva Stadium to launch the Aviva Mini Rugby Nations Cup. Aviva are giving 20 U10 boys’ and U12 girls’ teams the chance to fulfil their dreams by playing on the same pitch as their heroes on September 22 while Conor and the team are up against Scotland in Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

"There's a 100 per cent confidence in the coaching set-up," said the scrum-half.

"They gave us more than enough during the week and a more than detailed plan of what we are going to do and the players drive that.

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"The week flowed really well and then you go into a game, you miss first-up tackles and skill-execution isn't there, the coaches can't control that.

"At the weekend, we looked like we were on different pages at times in defence, more often than not. That's been a really strong point, we prepared really well.

"The onus is on the players to get that right. There was nothing wrong with our plan in the first 20 - it was going quite well. We found a bit of space behind and we were getting gain-line.

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"Our kicking game was quite good and then, the last 60 was terrible but it's definitely down to the players.

"The games that haven't gone quite so well, they are the concern for us but there's still a huge amount of confidence to take from what we've done in the past - not just 2018, the past four years before that as well.

"That’s the beauty of having a game this weekend but you wear that defeat for a long time - that was embarrassing."

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See aviva.ie/safetodream or Aviva Ireland social channels using #SafeToDream for details. Pictured with Conor are, from left, Eve White, age 11, from Wicklow, Shane Fox, age 10, from Dublin, Caoimhe O'Reilly, age 11, from Wicklow, and Shea Delaney, age 10, from Dublin. 

See Also: John Cooney Explains How He Was Cut By Joe Schmidt

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