The British Media React To Ireland’s Collapse From World Beaters To Underperformers

Swift return.

It’s been a difficult few weeks for Irish Rugby to say the least. They came into the Six Nations last month as Grand Slamming-world-beaters, as “new favourites” for the World Cup – they leave in tatters.

But at least for Schmidt it happened now and not in Japan later this year. There’s a lot of rugby still to play between now and the World Cup, giving Ireland plenty of time to try and get their “mojo” back.

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Or have teams just worked Ireland out and it’s time to take a look at the plan rather than the motion? Here’s what a selection of the British media think:

Writing in The Times, John Westerby asks did Ireland ever “believe” they were the best side in the world?

“Since Joe Schmidt’s side scaled the heights with that famous victory over New Zealand this season, Ireland’s return to reality in the Guinness Six Nations has been uncomfortably swift. Back then, in November, they were called the best side in the world by some. Did they believe it?”

Wales on Sunday pundit Graham Price declared Sexton Ireland’s “worst player” on Saturday and says they got “frustrated” and “argumentative” as the game unfolded in Cardiff

“Ireland got frustrated and argumentative… with their normally mild-mannered captain Rory Best losing his cool and their talisman Johnny Sexton losing the plot. Sexton normally spends much of his time moaning about everybody else so he can expect to have it thrown back at him after having an absolute shocker.”

“He sets his standards high but he was arguably Ireland’s worst player with the paucity of his display rubbing off on his colleagues.”

Former Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan also did a piece for The Times and says “Even the guy outside in the burger van has figured Joe Schmidt’s side out.”

Where do you think the Six Nations leaves Ireland? Have they been found out or are they still genuine Rugby World Cup contenders?