Passive start, injuries and inexperience became Ireland’s fall
Tommy Bowe suffered a blow to his knee in the World Cup quarter-final
Ireland looked half asleep in the opening 13 minutes of their quarter-final match with Argentina on Sunday. The scoreboard read 17-0 in Argentina’s favour and Ireland’s head coach Joe Schmidt admitted to a passive start: “We just did not get the start that we needed, particularly with a group low on experience”.
Ireland went on to suffer a devastating loss 43-20. A slow start wasn’t the only problem. Before the battle influential players such as Jared Payne (injury), Johnny Sexton (injury), Paul O’Connell (injury), Peter O’Mahony (injury) and Sean O’Brien (Cited) all had to drop out. And if that wasn’t enough, winger Tommy Bowe suffered a bad hit to his knee early on in the game and had to limp off the pitch.
First report says it could be a knee ligament injury, but a knee scan will determine whether or not Bowe faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Bowe’s club Ulster are still awaiting further scans, but indications points to an extended absence of the powerful winger.
Losing in the quarter-final stages of the World Cup has become a bad habit for the Irish, but in hindsight head coach Schmidt can be proud of the team’s achievements, and keep his head held high. Schmidt also declared inexperience as one of the key factors to falling short against the South American giant. Players didn’t know their roles and there was a “little lack of experience and that was very frustrating”.
Although the Irish hulks had the odds in their favour and were predicted by Bet365 and other bookies to win the game, Argentina weren’t going to play ball, so to speak. The climb got too steep as head coach Schmidt concluded: “You can’t afford to give a good team like that such a head-start”.
In hindsight Ireland shouldn’t be ashamed. With a preliminary squad and experience gained from bigger tournaments, Ireland will be a rugby-nation to watch out for in championships to come.