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Six Nations: Ireland will learn from Wales defeat, says Joe Schmidt

By Ali Gordon

Ireland coach has blasted suggestions that he must "go back to the drawing board" following his side's 23-16 defeat to Wales on Saturday.

Ireland's sluggish start and error-strewn performance ended the squad's Grand Slam hopes and threw the Six Nations Championship wide open with Ireland now sharing the spoils with England and Wales on six points at the top of the table ahead of this weekend's title decider.

"I think that's an extraordinary question in the context of having lost one game in our last 11, because something that was up on the drawing board before was working okay," said Schmidt (left) who is hoping to retain the title for the first time since 1949.

But the Kiwi did hint that Ireland's defeat was down to the players' execution rather than his game plan.

"We didn't beat some really good teams because we were no good at what we're doing.

"We've just got to make sure we take the best parts out of that (performance) and try to construct something that works in Murrayfield (next Saturday).

"We learned from those 10 wins and we will learn from this loss."

"What we can learn is that we won't lack for character, we don't lack for endeavour and those are important starting points," revealed Schmidt.

"What we do know is we are still in the championship and we still have a fantastic opportunity to do something that hasn't been done for a long time if we can create enough opportunities in Murrayfield next week.

"But if you go looking for differentials without first of all making sure you have targeted the result, you are going to make it a pretty tough day for yourself."

Schmidt admitted he will push his Ireland side to sharpen up their attacking accuracy this week in a bid to combat the blunt edge that emerged against Wales.

"It's funny because people were talking about us not making enough line breaks, not making enough passes, even though we'd obviously made more than any other team and I think that would definitely be true after Saturday," said Schmidt.

"I felt we showed fantastic endeavour, but that accuracy is what we're going to need and that's what we'll work on this week.

"We didn't quite get our rhythm and if you don't quite get that right against a defensive side that Wales have, particularly their ability to be very physical, you're in trouble.

"I felt we did a lot of that right, but not enough of it right to convert it into points."

Ireland will be forced to "take it a little bit easy" in training today, counting the cost of playing "one-and-a-quarter Test matches" in their 23-16 defeat to Wales.

"Probably Monday we might have to take it a little bit easy on the back of there being a lot of ball in play," said Schmidt, who confirmed he has no new injury worries.

"There were a lot of long phases of play, we probably played one-and-a-quarter Test matches in the context of some of the other Tests we've played. They'll have some bruises for sure."

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