Friday 18 October 2019

'If it's an area where we think there's doubt then we go for the corner' - Best and Schmidt back decision-making

Rory Best of Ireland reacts following defeat in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A game between Japan and Ireland at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa on September 28, 2019 in Fukuroi, Shizuoka, Japan. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Rory Best of Ireland reacts following defeat in the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group A game between Japan and Ireland at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa on September 28, 2019 in Fukuroi, Shizuoka, Japan. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Jonathan Bradley

IRELAND'S coach and captain have backed their decision making in the shock World Cup loss to Japan in Shizuoka earlier today.

In one of the tournament's greatest ever shocks, the host nation have seized control of Pool A thanks to a famous 19-12 win, holding Joe Schmidt's men without a point after Jack Carty converted Rob Kearney's try in the 22nd minute.

Ireland, who had looked nailed onto face South Africa in the quarters but may well now have to tackle the All Blacks, had plenty more opportunities to keep their scoreboard ticking over but continued to go for a third try with only costly turnovers following.

Having been rewarded when backing the maul both against Scotland last week and early on here, skipper Rory Best said he had no regrets about continuing to do so even in defeat.

"It's what we've done for a couple of years now, if the penalty is within the certain area that we've talked about during the game then we go for posts," said the Ulsterman who will retire after his tournament.

"At the same time if it's in an area where we think there's doubt over the kick then we go for the corner. It was the same last week.

"In fairness to Japan they defended quite well, but certainly one of the tries came off going to the corner."

Yu Tamara nailed a testing conversion after replacement Keni Fukuoka's try had given a lead they wouldn't relinquish, the difference between a two and four point hole leaving Best with no choice but to go for broke.

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"That's the way we play, we back ourselves," he added. "At the same time, if the penalty is there for the taking then we'll take it.

"Once they went four points ahead that forced our hand and we had to go for the corner."

The failure to score for the better part of an hour left Ireland clinging onto the scant consolation of a losing bonus, which Joey Carbery protected by booting the ball dead from underneath the shadow of his own posts rather than go for a length-of-field miracle to save an ill-deserved draw.

"Potentially the bonus point could be very important," said Schmidt. "It means that we've got six points from our pool from two games so far, Japan have got nine and Samoa five.

"You've got to finish in the top two so keeping that bonus point allowed us to stay ahead of Samoa in the short term. We know that Scotland will be a player and Russia will line us up in five days’ time."

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