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Irish rugby team made to pay for smugness

So, our much-hyped Six Nations rugby stars fail to deliver on expectations - again. While our under-performing players must accept a lot of the blame, the media are not without fault.

Last week, the final fixture of Ireland v England was being billed as a championship and grand slam decider. At worst, the Scotland game was being touted as a possible banana skin.

This was unfair to Scotland, Italy, Wales and France - and we truly got what we deserved on Saturday. Don't forget: we only finished third in last year's Six Nations.

Much was made of Ireland's success in the autumn internationals. Make no mistake, these games were friendlies, during which we beat an understrength New Zealand side.

I feel if we had been playing any of the opposition in, for example, a World Cup quarter or semi-final, the result would not have gone our way. Argentina in 2015, anyone?

We will be told this week of "systems" and "phases" and maybe even going "back to basics". But is it possible that we are not as good as we think we are?

FRAN O'REILLY

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