'I showed I'm not a flash-in-the-pan 10'
IRELAND match-winner Ian Madigan has called on the touring side to make major improvements ahead of Saturday's Test against Canada after narrowly escaping Houston with a 15-12 win over the US Eagles.
The Leinster fly-half delivered all of his team's points in an impressive first start at No 10, but he acknowledged that there were plenty of imperfections in the young side's display.
In particular, he called on his forwards to step up their efforts at the breakdown, an area which was targeted ruthlessly by the US back-row of Samu Manoa, Scott LaValla and Todd Clever.
"I think we have to be extremely critical of ourselves at the breakdown," he said.
"For Test level, it just simply wasn't good enough. I don't know if it was a combination of them bending the law slightly or us just not getting our timing right. When we did get line breaks, we just did not get that fast ball that our whole game plan is based around."
Madigan had heaped pressure on himself, coach Les Kiss and captain Peter O'Mahony in the build-up to the clash on Saturday night, saying if Ireland had suffered a first defeat in the US, they'd bear the brunt of the blame.
And he was happy with how he stood up to the billing and is keen for more action as a Test No 10.
"Absolutely," he said. "I probably increased the pressure on myself a small bit before the game – I'd like to think I stepped up to it. I didn't set the world alight by any means, but had a good solid game.
"I showed I'm not a flash-in-the-pan 10, I can do the basics to a good standard. I probably need to add a few small bits to my game. It's off the later phases that I'll do that. I didn't quite get there today.
"It was tough to bring the X-factor when you get the back plays off the later phases. That's where we thought they'd be vulnerable and unfortunately we weren't able to produce that.
"We had a lot of new caps off the bench and I thought they did the basics really well and fitted in. That's all you can really expect at this level. In fairness, we closed the game out well. I was very happy with the lads who came off the bench."
Captain Peter O'Mahony (left) was delighted to get a win on his first outing as skipper.
"Both teams went hard at the breakdown, it was scrappy and it showed the passion we both had for the game. Personally, I really enjoyed the battle up front," he said. "I'm delighted to captain a winning side for the first time. It's a dream come true and I'm thrilled."
Ireland are unlikely to call up a replacement for Simon Zebo who departed the tour last night to join up with the Lions.
The squad arrived in Toronto with no serious injuries ahead of the clash with Canada.