Those quarter finals are tough. Ireland have fallen at the first hurdle in the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup yet again. To summarise, the performance against New Zealand was difficult to watch.
After four years of buildup, to exit a World Cup in that manner was not really acceptable. What's worse, it tarnishes what has been a successful tenure for Joe Schmidt as Ireland coach.
The Kiwi was in charge for the final time today and after the game he admitted that Ireland have underperformed for much of 2019.
🗣 "We've been a little bit flat all season which is disappointing. Thank you to my players and these supporters. It has been a privilege for me." @IrishRugby's Joe Schmidt talks about his team's defeat in his final game in charge #RWC2019 #NZLvIRE #RWCTokyo pic.twitter.com/KJIx9WfF2o
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 19, 2019
It wasn't just 22 points, it was all the ball we gave them. I think we missed touch for us to get field position three times.
It just meant that we were chasing our tail, they had so much ball in our 22' and our half. It was very tough going...
We had a few chances in that first half. the third try that the All Blacks scored, we had a gap on the outside we just didn't quite play it. We didn't quite have a feel, we've been a little bit flat all season, which is disappointing.
We were great last year and we just came off the top of that and haven't quite been where we wanted to be all year.
Schmidt also thanked the Ireland fans for their support.
I'd just like to thank my players and thank these supporters that followed us all over the place. Rory has led the team incredibly well, and Paul O'Connell before him. It's been a privilege.
Where Ireland go from here is anybody's guess. Andy Farrell will take over as coach, but it is difficult to see how someone within the current regime can change things in the desired manner.
As is always the case with Ireland, there is certainly a very flat feeling amongst rugby enthusiasts after this Rugby World Cup.