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Abysmal Irish effort shows need for change - this team is at crisis point

Tony Ward


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CJ Stander,tusseling Maro Itoje, will retain his place but it won’t be at No 8. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

CJ Stander,tusseling Maro Itoje, will retain his place but it won’t be at No 8. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

CJ Stander,tusseling Maro Itoje, will retain his place but it won’t be at No 8. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Since the final whistle sounded against Wales we had wondered if Ireland were as bad as we appeared against the Scots or as good as we seemed when turning it around in a matter of days against the Welsh.

Logically, the answer was always going to be 'somewhere in the middle' but, alas, we were shocking at Twickenham yesterday - save for two 10-minute spells, one after half-time and one before the end.

Like many observers, I was confused ahead of kick-off as quite frankly England - the final apart - performed at a different level to us at the World Cup, yet here we were just three months on and competing with the second best team in the world with Triple Crown and possibly Grand Slam-winning aspirations.