Ireland mauled by Pumas

The Rugby World Cup journey ended in tears for Ireland and there is no doubt that the loss through injury of so many class players really hurt us. There was great praise for the strength of the panel before Sunday but when we were faced with a class outfit we were caught out badly.

  You simply cannot cope with the loss of Johnny Sexton, Paul O’Connell, Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony – and then we lost Tommy Bowe early through injury on Sunday.

  All the players mentioned there have played for the Lions – never mind Ireland – and we just couldn’t cope without them. Add that to the fact that Argentina were much better than many people had thought!

  Another factor is that Ireland put so much into the game against France that they were not able to recover. On the other hand, Argentina played the All Blacks in their first game and they had almost a month to prepare for their quarter-final. However, it has to be said that they are a class outfit and if they play as well as they did against Ireland when they face Australia they have a great chance of getting to the World Cup Final.

  It was probably just as well that Ireland beat France as we avoided the All Blacks and probably escaped a hammering. I don’t see South Africa having any chance against them this weekend. How about a New Zealand v Argentina final?

  All in all it has been a magnificent World Cup, but the bottom line is that Ireland are still a long way from being able to qualify for a semi-final spot. The fact that Argentina have been playing against the top Southern Hemisphere nations over the past four or five years has brought them on so much.

  But credit to the Irish players, they did their best and they now have to regroup for the Six Nations Championship. It may not be as good in terms of quality as the Championship down under, but it is still a legitimate target for Joe Schmidt in the New Year.