Expert opinion: Why did Ireland's world collapse?
Published 09/10/2011 | 05:00
Bernard Jackman: I thought unfortunately we were well beaten and I don't think we can have any quibbles with the result. I'm absolutely gutted for the players, to get over Australia so convincingly and then not to go out and play well.
I think we didn't perform on the day. I don't think Wales are that much a better side than us but tactically they got it one hundred per cent right. We struggled to get momentum, or maybe we didn't implement the game plan Declan Kidney came up with, because we looked quite naive in our attack and we played to their strengths.
Ireland were like a team that didn't turn up, they didn't seem on the ball. Things that were going well earlier on in the tournament just didn't seem to click and that's a credit to Wales more than anything else. Their defence was phenomenal; they were in the Irish faces all day. If you look at a couple of kicks from Ronan O'Gara in the first half, if they had gone the other way rather than going touch in goal, it could have made a difference. At the end of the day, the best team won.
At the breakdown, the rucks, we couldn't get any fast ball out, they targeted slowing down our ball and as a result of that we couldn't get our strike runners into the game. I don't know if changing the half-backs at 54 minutes was a good idea because it shows that the coach is unsettled and that spreads through the team. It also showed the Welsh that there was a sense of panic in the Irish team which is a motivating factor for their psyche. I'm not convinced that there is a continuity of communication from the management to the players. I think there was a change of direction before the Australia game that worked for the players. There has been some huge performances in this World Cup but it didn't show me that this team has been well managed in the last six months. Obviously, expectations were low going in but, from a player's point of view, you can be guaranteed that they would have been expecting and working towards a semi-final or more.
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