Rugby

WATCH: Matt Williams And Shane Horgan Give Damning Irish Assessment

WATCH: Matt Williams And Shane Horgan Give Damning Irish Assessment

Matt Williams was scathing of Ireland's performance against Italy in Rome this afternoon, as Joe Schmidt's side limped to a far-from-inspiring win.

Whilst coming away from the Stadio Olimpico with a bonus point earning a 26-16 win, our boys now find themselves well up against it from a points difference perspective if they are to at least retain their Six Nations crown.

After Wales put pay to England's Grand Slam ambitions yesterday, a big win in Italy and a win against France could have set up a winner takes all encounter with the Welsh in Cardiff next month. But despite running in four tries through Roux Quinn, Jacob Stockdale, Keith Earls and Connor Murray to earn a bonus point, Ireland were poor. No two ways about it.

Williams did not hold back in giving a damning assessment.

A lack of leadership on the field. The body language was shocking. Body language is so important.

We had shots were we could see no-one talking. There was no energy.

They were frustrated, but that's the game. The game will frustrate you. You have to have strategies to overcome it.

That's the worst Irish performance I've seen in a long, long time.

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Alongside Williams in the Virgin Media Sport studio was Shane Horgan who described himself as being "a little bit worried" with a view to this Autumn's World Cup.

The former wing legend harked back to Ireland's seemingly encouraging build-up to the eventually ill-fated 2007 World Cup campaign, bemoaning today's missed opportunity to "get things right and very positive".

Ireland now find themselves third in the Guinness Six Nations table, trailing both England and Wales, with a distinctly tougher run-in, first having to entertain the French in Dublin in a fortnight before travelling to Wales on the final weekend.

England , who sit a point ahead of Ireland in second with a very handsome points difference remain odds-on favourites to win the Championship with home games against both Italy and Scotland to wind up their 2019 tournament.

SEE ALSO: Player Ratings As Ireland Stumble To Unconvincing Italian Victory