Sunday 17 December 2017

Joe Schmidt unhappy with officiating after Dave Kearney was incorrectly denied a try

Tom Rooney

Joe Schmidt has cited the inability to convert try scoring chances and some questionable refereeing decisions as the prominent factors in Ireland’s loss to France.

France won out a sloppy, error-strewn Six Nations encounter by 10-9, as they earned their first  victory over Ireland since 2011. Ireland lead 9-3 at the break but failed to register a point in the second half.

Maxime Medard’s late try proved decisive but, in truth, Ireland should have been out of sight long before. Schmidt bemoaned his side’s profligacy when dominating in the first period.

The Kiwi also took exception to what was presumably the referee’s lack of interest in the late hits on Johnny Sexton and Dave Kearney from Yoann Maestri and Guilhem Guirado respectively.

“They scored with 15 to go, so we probably spent a 15 minute period in our own 22, which took its toll in the end. We’re massively disappointed,” he told RTÉ Sport.

“We had some opportunities in the first half that we didn’t covert and we’re disappointed not to see some action taken for a couple of things that happened off the ball.

“The frustration is that we had our opportunities. We probably tired a bit, that was always a possibility. We felt we needed to get a lead on them and, while we got a small lead, it never got beyond a score.”

Furthermore, he had hoped for more inspection when Robbie Henshaw was deemed to have knocked on Sexton’s Garryowen, from which Dave Kearney looked to have scored. However, the former Leinster coach was equally concerned with Ireland’s lack of ruthlessness in the red zone.

“You always feel you leave it behind when it’s a one point loss, and you’ve had some opportunities that you didn’t take.

“I think that first time Dave Kearney goes over carrying the ball, it ricochets off Robbie Henshaw’s chest and there is no knock on. In a try scoring action I felt it warranted another look.

“We don’t have control over the TMO, but we’ve got to be more efficient when we get down in the 22. The conditions were pretty atrocious and I think the knock on count for both teams was pretty high.

“It was more difficult to carry the ball in the first half than it was to defend. It was a little better in the second, but we didn’t quite get the field position.”

Once more Ireland’s physical efforts ensured an even more extensive causality list, though Schmidt offered little information on Sexton, Dave Kearney, Tommy O’Donnell and Mike McCarthy. He did, however, laud Jared Payne for lasting the duration despite injury.

“It was incredible from Jared Payne. He’s an incredibly strong character. He was pretty much gone from half time but muscled on. Unfortunately it dents your attacking opportunities but I thought he did an superb job. “

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