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Joe Schmidt: We had endeavour today but we lacked execution

Joe Schmidt believes that calls for any radical changes to the Irish game plan would be a complete overreaction despite their 23-16 loss to Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff this afternoon.

Ireland were chasing only their third ever Grand Slam and their 11th win in succession a resurgent Wales side, led by inspirational skipper Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny, halted Irish dreams on st Patrick's weekend.

Schmidt defended the tactics employed by the reigning champions during this Six Nations campaign and believes there were a lot of very small margins that contributed to an Irish loss.

"There was an awful lot of good in today's performance and if you start to throw the baby out with the bathwater then it's pretty hard to start all over again," Schmidt said.

It's probably not back to the drawing board, the strategy was the same as it has been for the last few weeks. Results are based on very small margins and if you must take your opportunities. We put ourselves in positions to score a tries but we didn't execute."

When asked if he would have to fight to get up in the morning Schmidt quipped that he struggles to go to bed at all, constantly questioning the events of a game, and tonight will be no different.

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Ireland's Rob Kearney looks dejected at full time
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Ireland's Rob Kearney looks dejected at full time Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic

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Ireland's Paul O'Connell gets away from Wales' Taulupe Faletau during the RBS 6 Nations match at the Millennium Stadium

Ireland's Paul O'Connell gets away from Wales' Taulupe Faletau during the RBS 6 Nations match at the Millennium Stadium

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CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 14:  Warren Gatland the head coach of Wales looks on prior to kickoff during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at The Millennium Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 14: Warren Gatland the head coach of Wales looks on prior to kickoff during the RBS Six Nations match between Wales and Ireland at The Millennium Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

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Paul O'Connell, Ireland. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland. Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Paul O'Connell, Ireland. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland. Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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Ireland's Jared Payne gets past Wales Jamie Roberts during the RBS 6 Nations match at the Millennium Stadium

Ireland's Jared Payne gets past Wales Jamie Roberts during the RBS 6 Nations match at the Millennium Stadium

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14 March 2015; Ireland's Rob Kearney, centre, following his side's defeat. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland. Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

14 March 2015; Ireland's Rob Kearney, centre, following his side's defeat. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland. Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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14 March 2015; Jonathon Davies, Wales, is congratulated by Liam Williams, 11, after scoring his side's first try. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales.

14 March 2015; Jonathon Davies, Wales, is congratulated by Liam Williams, 11, after scoring his side's first try. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales.

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14 March 2015; Rob Kearney, Ireland, is tackled by Taulupe Faletau, left, and Dan Biggar, Wales. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales.  Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

14 March 2015; Rob Kearney, Ireland, is tackled by Taulupe Faletau, left, and Dan Biggar, Wales. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

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14 March 2015; Paul O'Connell, Ireland, with match referee Wayne Barnes. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

14 March 2015; Paul O'Connell, Ireland, with match referee Wayne Barnes. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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14 March 2015; Paul O'Connell, Ireland, is tackled by Luke Charteris, Wales. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales.  Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

14 March 2015; Paul O'Connell, Ireland, is tackled by Luke Charteris, Wales. RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship, Wales v Ireland, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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Niamh Horan with Kate Burke Wales Louisa Hamell Dublin Michelle Barry Dublin in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.
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Niamh Horan with Kate Burke Wales Louisa Hamell Dublin Michelle Barry Dublin in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Picture By Mark Mc Conville

14 March 2015; Members of the Rathdrum Women's Rugby team burst into song in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

14 March 2015; Members of the Rathdrum Women's Rugby team burst into song in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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14 March 2015; Ireland supporters Jacqui Wray, from Portadown, Co. Armagh, left, and Fiona Hillen, from Newry, Co. Down, in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

14 March 2015; Ireland supporters Jacqui Wray, from Portadown, Co. Armagh, left, and Fiona Hillen, from Newry, Co. Down, in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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14 March 2015; Ireland supporters Linsey Wilson, left, and Naomi Witherick, from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

14 March 2015; Ireland supporters Linsey Wilson, left, and Naomi Witherick, from Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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Welsh fans Beth-Anne and Derek Roberts from Carnarvon, Wales watch the Wales v Ireland rugby match at Searsons, Baggott Street yesterday.
Photo: Tony Gavin 14/3/2015

Welsh fans Beth-Anne and Derek Roberts from Carnarvon, Wales watch the Wales v Ireland rugby match at Searsons, Baggott Street yesterday. Photo: Tony Gavin 14/3/2015

Rugby Union - Wales v Ireland - RBS Six Nations Championship 2015 - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 14/3/15
Wales' Liam Williams and Ireland's Tommy Bowe in action
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Rugby Union - Wales v Ireland - RBS Six Nations Championship 2015 - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 14/3/15 Wales' Liam Williams and Ireland's Tommy Bowe in action Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

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Ireland's Jared Payne breaks through the wales defence as Wales' Jamie Roberts (ground) looks on during the RBS 6 Nations match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 14, 2015. See PA Story RUGBYU Wales. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. No use in books or print sales without prior permission. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.

Ireland's Jared Payne breaks through the wales defence as Wales' Jamie Roberts (ground) looks on during the RBS 6 Nations match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday March 14, 2015. See PA Story RUGBYU Wales. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. No use in books or print sales without prior permission. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.

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Ireland's Robbie Henshaw in action with Wales' Dan Biggar
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Rugby Union - Wales v Ireland - RBS Six Nations Championship 2015 - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 14/3/15
Ireland's Rob Kearney in action with Wales' Alun Wyn Jones
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Rugby Union - Wales v Ireland - RBS Six Nations Championship 2015 - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 14/3/15 Ireland's Rob Kearney in action with Wales' Alun Wyn Jones Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

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Rugby Union - Wales v Ireland - RBS Six Nations Championship 2015 - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 14/3/15
Wales'  Leigh Halfpenny prepares to take a penalty
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Rugby Union - Wales v Ireland - RBS Six Nations Championship 2015 - Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 14/3/15 Wales' Leigh Halfpenny prepares to take a penalty Reuters / Rebecca Naden Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

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14 March 2015; Ireland supporters, from left, ?ine Geoghegan, Britney North, Stephanie Birch, Linda Dempsey and Aoife McGrath, from Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow, in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

14 March 2015; Ireland supporters, from left, ?ine Geoghegan, Britney North, Stephanie Birch, Linda Dempsey and Aoife McGrath, from Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow, in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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14 March 2015; Ireland supporters Aoife Corbett, form Carrigaline, Co. Cork, and Deirdre Callaghan, form Finglas, Dublin, in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

14 March 2015; Ireland supporters Aoife Corbett, form Carrigaline, Co. Cork, and Deirdre Callaghan, form Finglas, Dublin, in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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Grace Lanigan, Linda Sherry, Ciara Lanigan, Michelle Dooley and Ruth Acheson from Clondalkin watch the Wales v Ireland rugby match at Searsons, Baggott Street yesterday.
Photo: Tony Gavin 14/3/2015

Grace Lanigan, Linda Sherry, Ciara Lanigan, Michelle Dooley and Ruth Acheson from Clondalkin watch the Wales v Ireland rugby match at Searsons, Baggott Street yesterday. Photo: Tony Gavin 14/3/2015

Sophie Carhcart, Cabiteely, Clara Pryor, Malahide and Roby Gordon, Dun Laoghaire watch the Wales v Ireland rugby match at Searsons, Baggott Street yesterday.
Photo: Tony Gavin 14/3/2015

Sophie Carhcart, Cabiteely, Clara Pryor, Malahide and Roby Gordon, Dun Laoghaire watch the Wales v Ireland rugby match at Searsons, Baggott Street yesterday. Photo: Tony Gavin 14/3/2015

Ciara Lanigan, Michelle Dooley and Ruth Acheson from Clondalkin watch the Wales v Ireland rugby match at Searsons, Baggott Street yesterday.
Photo: Tony Gavin 14/3/2015

Ciara Lanigan, Michelle Dooley and Ruth Acheson from Clondalkin watch the Wales v Ireland rugby match at Searsons, Baggott Street yesterday. Photo: Tony Gavin 14/3/2015

14 March 2015; Members of the Rathdrum Women's Rugby team Aoife McGrath, front, with, back, from left, Linda Dempsey, Britney North, Stephaine Birch and ?ine Geoghegan in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

14 March 2015; Members of the Rathdrum Women's Rugby team Aoife McGrath, front, with, back, from left, Linda Dempsey, Britney North, Stephaine Birch and ?ine Geoghegan in Cardiff ahead of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championship clash between Wales and Ireland at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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Ireland's Rob Kearney looks dejected at full time Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic

Schmidt said: "I look at the what ifs and the maybes because I think there were a fair few what ifs and maybes. I think about the last line-out drive, I think about the pressure we had in their '22 and how close we were to getting across the line and the small margins that change the result.

"I felt at 20-16 we were back in the game and inside a score away from them. We attacked positively and got up towards the half-way line and then gave up a penalty which was disappointing. It probably reflected our endeavour today but not our execution."

Ireland got off to a disastrous start, trailing 12 nil after just 13 minutes, and Schmidt rued the uphill battle his side faced thereafter.

The New Zealander said: "It allowed Wales to control the first quarter with territory and possession. We saw some very stringent refereeing of the tackle area and we probably weren't quick enough to respond to that."

While admitting his surprise at some of the decisions which referee Wayne Barnes made throughout the game Schmidt said that they must look at themselves first while also praising the Welsh side. 

"We take responsibility for what happens, we didn't help ourselves but credit to the Welsh, they were magnificent and they didn't make it easy for us,"

"Last time Ireland came here they had a big lead and Wales storming back at them. We knew they weren't going to afford us any chances, any luxury of a big lead in the first-half but we didn't help ourselves.

Ireland now face a trip to Murrayfield, where they have lost twice in their last three meetings, next weekend with the competition evenly poised like 2014 and schmidt believes they must keep their eye on the ball.

He said: "It's a little bit similar to last year we knew we just needed the result in Paris and England had to watch on. You've got to beat those teams first, can't go anywhere chasing points because this competition is far too competitive."

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