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Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is still the right man for the job

By Tony Ward

Joe Schmidt will lick his wounds into the small hours watching endless re-runs of Ireland's World Cup exit - then come back stronger for the hurt.

Prop Nathan White backed head coach Schmidt to jump straight back into searching for minuscule improvements, just hours after Ireland crashed out of the World Cup to Argentina.

The Pumas thumped Schmidt's men 43-20 to deny Ireland a first World Cup semi-final, at the sixth time of asking.

Schmidt recently revealed his "love-hate relationship" with coaching drives his obsessive side, and White confirmed the former Leinster boss will quickly be seeking solace through analysis.

"He's the type of guy who will go back and watch the game probably five times tonight," said White.

"He's very humble, willing to admit mistakes if there are any and change things if it's better for the team.

"As players as well we need to look at ourselves and what we can learn out of it, as to why we didn't deliver.

"It's a sign of a very good coach to go and pick it to bits. And if things can be improved they are happy to admit that and then they make changes.

"I'm sure he'll find some things where everyone can improve."

Tommy Bowe suffered suspected knee ligament trouble amid yet more collateral damage for a patched-up Ireland, in Sunday's quarter-final.

Ireland leaked two tries in the first 10 minutes en route to a galling loss, Juan Imhoff claiming a brace for the rampant Pumas.

Shorn of pivotal leaders Paul O'Connell, Peter O'Mahony and Johnny Sexton through injury, and the banned Sean O'Brien, Ireland simply failed to contain their South American foes.

Dejected Ireland duo Devin Toner and Keith Earls refused to blame the litany of missing stars for their side's last-eight exit.

"It's the first World Cup I've been involved in and I knew progressing would be very hard," said Leinster lock Toner.

"It was very frustrating but the best thing we can do is learn from it and move forward. They're a very dangerous side and they proved that.

"We're always going to miss the leaders that weren't out there today but I'm not going to make excuses."

Centre Earls was shut down at every turn by the frenzied Pumas defence, admitting afterwards Ireland's feeling of impotence to be 17 points down after just 12 minutes.

"It's devastating to be going home tomorrow after putting your body on the line for the whole tournament," said Earls.

"We thought we were in a good place last week. We had a few injuries and we were missing a few massive leaders, but it's not easy when you give a team a 17-point lead after 15 minutes.

"It was bizarre. I looked up at one stage and it was only 12 minutes gone. But they like to suck in defenders and they're big, strong men and they got outside us."

Ireland boss Schmidt hailed Argentina in victory, but was left frustrated by fly-half Nicolas Sanchez, as he termed it, drawing a penalty out of Toner for a high tackle.

"You can't afford to give a good team like that such a head-start," said Schmidt. "But at the same time at 23-20 we worked an overlap that we didn't quite take.

"And there's a little lack of experience, and that was very frustrating.

"It either comes off for us or for them, and we didn't quite get the rub of the green," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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