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Neil Francis Highlights Damning Stat About Ireland's Missed Tackles

Neil Francis Highlights Damning Stat About Ireland's Missed Tackles
By Conor Neville
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Neil Francis was in angry mood this morning after Ireland's latest failure to progress beyond the World Cup quarter-final.

Since the inaugural tournament in 1987, all the original Five Nations countries plus the current Rugby Championship set have reached the last four bar Ireland.

Scotland, a country usually dismissed by Irish fans who don't remember the 1990s, reached the semi-final back in 1991, although it could be pointed out that was the year before South Africa were welcomed back into international competition.

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Reaction to the defeat ran along two separate lines.

His Irish Independent column includes much lamentation about the weakness of northern hemisphere rugby and it includes one damning stat which may make the post-match review a tough watch.

Ireland missed 27 tackles all over the park yesterday, with Dave Kearney missing an astonishing five out of nine attempted tackles.

Francis sees Kearney's tackle stats, an anomaly for a player usually so reliable as evidence of Ireland's mental frailty on the big stage.

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Choking, essentially.

For such a reliable player who is normally so defensively sure, how do you reconcile those figures?

It is a sign that we are vulnerable and mentally uncertain of ourselves when it gets to the key matches in the big competitions.

Read more: The 10 Biggest Heartbreaks In The History Of Irish Sport

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