Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt has urged fans to be patient after his honeymoon period ended with a short sharp shock in a 32-15 defeat to Australia at the Aviva Stadium.
A week after a comprehensive win over Samoa at the same venue. Schmidt suffered the first defeat of his new reign in only his second match in charge.
Out-half Johnny Sexton added to Schmidt’s woes when he limped off with a hamstring injury in the second-half.
Irish fans are seriously worried about the shortcomings in his side with world champions New Zealand in Dublin on Saturday.
Australia scored four tries as a direct result of errors by the Irish defence and Schmidt admitted it wasn’t good enough.
He told Irish state broadcaster RTE: “I think it was more than defence. We probably still didn’t kick as well as we needed to. We often had to kick under pressure.
“I thought Israel Folau was very dominant in the air and it didn’t allow us to get any ball back when we were trying to clear our own area.
“We struggled a bit at set-pieces, turned over our first line-out and turned over another one when we had an opportunity to drive at the line and maybe get back into the game.
“I felt just before half-time we fought our way back into the game. The defending wasn’t good enough but at 15-3 we fought our way back to 15-12.
“After half-time, losing Jonny Sexton didn’t help. He just gives us that organisation. Having said that, it is valuable experience for Ian Madigan and he fought really hard in the position he was put into.
“Unfortunately the result is what it is and the Australians deserved it.”
The Ireland coach will now await reports on injuries picked up by Sexton and Rob Kearney before turning his attentions to the New Zealand game.
Schmidt said: “I’m not sure what grade it is for Johnny’s hamstring injury, we’ll find out over the next 48 hours. I think Rob is okay, he was a little bit winded and he was a bit tender in the ribs but I’m hoping he’ll be okay.
“At that stage we were looking to be more precautionary than leave him out there and put him at a risk of another knock.”
New Zealand warmed up for their Dublin visit with a Twickenham win over England on Saturday.
Schmidt admitted: “We know how good they, we knew how good the Australians were. All we can do is prepare as best we can. That will start with trying to recover from this game over the next 48 hours.
“We will look at what we need to improve on and try to forge ahead from there. It is going to be a very tough ask but there is a fair bit of character in the side and hopefully they come back and keep the supporters interested next week.”
Why all Irish men’s beards are red