Grand Slam has put a target on our backs: Jones

17 March, 2019, 06:55 | Author: Suzanne Horton
  • Johnny Sexton of Ireland looks dejected

You only have to look back a year and see that England went back-to-back in the championship (in 2016 and 2017) and then ended up fifth. "We didn't look too exhausted did we", grinned Gatland referring to England counterpart Eddie Jones' dig that they would be worn out for the game.

The New Zealander was also moved to defend his star half-back pairing of Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray as both players struggled to have an impact in the hard conditions.

It's been a Six Nations to forget for Ireland but Schmidt says the current crop will be "gracious in defeat" and take today's defeat "on the chin".

"We have to be more consistent, dust ourselves off and hope we finish strong in the World Cup".

And when asked what Ireland want, Schmidt continued: "We'll adapt, we'll adapt".

"We lost to two very good sides and we have to address why".

"All I do is try to get the preparation right and the best preparation for top-class players is to be in pressure cooker situations and to try and work their way through them".


Larmour did dance his way over with the last play of the game to at least save face for Ireland, but they were a long way off their rampant opponents, who will enjoy their night.

It was a day when they rose to the occasion majestically, inspired by a number of world-class individual displays, but none more so than Anscombe's as he came of age as a Test match performer.

Wales quest for a Six Nations Grand Slam has one final hurdle with Ireland travelling to the Principality Stadium this Saturday.

"They scored after a couple of minutes and you're always under a little pressure and we didn't respond overly well to that pressure, giving up penalties".

As he begins preparations for his team's opening pool match against Scotland on 22 September, Schmidt still believes he can end his six-year spell in charge of Ireland on a positive note.

'There's been a request from Wales in the interest of the quality of the game and the very poor weather forecast that the roof be closed.

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