Two unconvincing wins and two defeats in games Ireland could have won is not the Six Nations anyone with a vested interest in Irish rugby was hoping for and, in the aftermath of Saturday's 19-13 loss in Wales, coach Declan Kidney acknowledged his disappointment at the way the championship has gone.
Even allowing for the game-changing decision to allow Mike Phillips' try after a blatant transgression of the rules, Ireland are clearly not where they want to be, and Kidney was not slow to express his frustration that his team is playing below par.
However, with the daunting challenge of England next up at the Aviva Stadium, he is adamant that the Irish have the capacity to correct the problems that have beset them in this championship.
“I know we are better than that and I know that most of it is in our own control,” said Kidney.
“That is both the frustrating side of it and the satisfying side of it, because as long as it's within your own control, I know that we will get better.
“Our job is to get ourselves going, we know what England can do to teams — they showed that against Italy and that gave them a huge points advantage. That's outside our control, all we can do is work on what's inside our control.”
As regards the momentum-shifting decision by touch judge Peter Allan to allow Wales to take a quick line-out throw with a second ball, the Ireland coach said while it was undeniably frustrating to deal with, there was no point dwelling on the issue, adding that the test now is to use the experience to make the team stronger.
“Our job is to prepare for the next game, it's as simple and as brutal as that because if you keep dwelling on the past, it will never get you anywhere,” said Kidney.
Kidney reported no injuries from the game, although medical staff will assess the seriousness of the knock sustained by Eoin Reddan, who was forced off inside the first minute after blocking the clearance kick of Wales full-back Lee Byrne and receiving the full force of the ball into his face, while Tomas O'Leary is expected to be fit to face England.
The challenge for Ireland now is to put their Welsh woes behind them, work on their mistakes and put their best foot forward against a formidable England outfit.
“Every day you put on a green jersey, you do that (put your best foot forward). It makes no difference if we’d won, lost or drawn the Welsh game, it's about preparing and playing to the best of our ability against England,” added Kidney.
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