Joe Schmidt – “I Would Like To Think That The Genuine Supporter Will Still Be 100% Behind Us.”

Rebuild.

What a difference 12 months can make. This day last year Ireland were crowned Six Nations Grand Slam champions after an incredibly dominant display against England, in Twickenham of all places.

They had steamrolled their way through the tournament with bonus-point wins against Italy, Wales and Scotland after some heroics in Paris on the opening day. They then went on to win a series in Australia before defeating the mighty All Blacks in November.

But 2019 couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. A humiliating defeat at home to England was followed up by three very below par performances against Scotland, Italy and France. Then there was yesterday’s defeat against Wales. Another embarrassment.

So what next for Ireland? They will “reflect, rebuild and go forward” according to head coach Joe Schmidt who has also asked Irish supporters “not to lose faith” ahead of the World Cup in Japan.

“For us we would certainly encourage the genuine supporter not to lose faith with the team; the team will definitely turn up in Japan.” Schmidt said.

“And we will grow a bit from this. We haven’t been catastrophic but we haven’t been quite as good as we needed to be. We’ve lost three Tests in our last 26. But to lose today is really tough.

“We’ve won 23 of our last 26 Test matches, we’ve finished third in the Six Nations; once upon a time that wasn’t the catastrophe that it is today for Ireland. The fact we’ve won three of the previous five makes it less than it should be.

“We’ll be the first to put our hands up and say that that’s not as good as we want to be. We’ll be the first to take our hats off and acknowledge the performance that Wales put in today. And then we’ll reflect, rebuild and go forward.

“And as I said earlier, I would like to think that the genuine supporter will still be 100% behind us.”