‘It’s Difficult When You Go From Contenders In The First Game To Useless In The Second Game’

Not good enough.

Ireland’s Rugby World Cup campaign hasn’t exactly gone according to plan so far – and that’s putting it as simple as possible.

An opening-round bonus-point win over Scotland put them in an excellent position, but then the shock defeat to Japan left Ireland almost in complete tatters. Before the World Cup they were seen as potential serious contenders, but now – not so much.

And while they got themselves back on track with another bonus-point win over Russia yesterday, the performance wasn’t exactly where it should be at this stage of the cycle and people are worried.

Ireland captain Rory Best says confidence has taken a knock but says Ireland are more than capable of bouncing back. And with their destiny back in their own hands in terms of a quarter-final spot, they’ve got a chance to right their wrongs.

“I think when you lose a game and go from being supposedly contenders in the first game to useless in the second game it’s always going to affect the confidence a little bit,” said Best.

“But we bounce back well, and this group understands what we need to do to play well.

“We understand our core values, and we know we weren’t as good in those areas against Japan.

“But you look back at the warm-up game in England and then the two games against Wales and then Scotland here; we felt we were improving. Sometimes you’ve got to take it on the chin and say we didn’t play as well as we can, Japan played very well and put us under pressure.

“But in terms of confidence in the group, we’re still very assured of what we’re capable of and how we get there. Our destiny is still in own hands. So we’re there and thereabouts, but we would have expected to be in a better place after the three games.

“We would have expected to win the three games but that hasn’t happened.

“We know a bonus-point win will guarantee our place in the quarter-finals.”