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Deflated Schmidt hails Ireland
08 Feb 2016 09:09
Joe Schmidt admitted to mixed emotions after Ireland and Wales played out a 16-16 draw in their Six Nations encounter in Dublin.
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Ireland led 13-0 towards the end of the first half but required a late Johnny Sexton penalty to claim a share of the spoils as Warren Gatland’s men fought their way back into the game to lead with six minutes to play.
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Head coach Schmidt was missing a host of players through injury and told RTÉ Sport he had sensed a lack of experience may have left his side vulnerable.
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“I did sense that we were a little bit vulnerable, to be honest. We had Dev [Toner] and Rory [Best] back and apart from that it was a very new group.
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“When you put those new players in... it’s just going a little bit deeper into your resources.
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“While we’ve got real confidence in what we’re developing there, it’s a time thing. There’s guys who I thought acquitted themselves really well today.
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“You certainly can’t feel elated, a little bit deflated because we built that 13-0 advantage and I thought it was on the back of some really strong work both sides of the ball.
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“I thought our defence was superb in that first half"
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“I thought our defence was superb in that first half. Particularly the first 30 minutes when we kept them off our line and it wasn’t really until they got the couple of scrums near our line that they managed to get over.
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“At the other end I felt that we got down there three or four times in the first half and converted three scores to get that 13 points. So there’s some things to be positive about.
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“I thought the way we fought back [from 16-13] is testament to the amount of effort that was going in from the lads.
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“Considering the disruptions during the week and a bit of lack of experience I thought it was made up for in the energy levels.
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“Wales created a number of opportunities. Both sides just rolled their sleeves up defensively and managed to shut down a couple of opportunities that were created.
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“I think the players believed till the end; they kept playing well past the 80-minute mark. That was probably indicative of their belief that they could grab it out of the fire.
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“I’m sure both teams are a little bit deflated. I think with the firepower they brought to the table we’re reasonably happy with the way that the lads responded."
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The New Zealander also gave a quick injury update after Sexton, Keith Earls and Tommy O’Donnell were all replaced.
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“Johnny’s fine, he’s just a bit bruised,” he said. “Keith Earls may have suffered a concussion, we just need to follow that up.
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"Tommy O’Donnell went off for a head injury assessment but passed it without any problems but at that stage Rhys Ruddock had sort of grown in to the game."
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Ireland next face France in Paris on Saturday at 2.25pm.
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