Ireland need to learn from their loss to Wales in the Six Nations Championship then they stand a chance to win the Rugby World Cup.
The standard of rugby played in the match at the Millennium Stadium was very high. If the Southern Hemisphere Giants of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia don’t sit up and take notice then they are fools.
The match was a statement that Ireland have the level of skill to compete with the best. They can play to the required intensity, physicality and focus but can they make the correct decisions on the field at that level to change or adapt when things are not working.
The big moment of the match was when Wales successfully defended their line after Ireland had taken play through 32 phases. This highlighted Ireland’s ability and skill to hold onto the ball and recycle it so many times. To keep your nerve and not make a mistake shows excellent temperament and patience. To not get penalized through this prolonged attack shows focus and discipline.
Structure is no longer an issue for Ireland because taking the ball through 32 phases doesn’t happen by accident. It comes from players knowing where they need to be and what they need to do.
So in a sense it’s to much structure that’s the problem, it may have required more spontaneity to breach such resolute defence. Ireland never went the aerial route like they did so successfully against England the week before. Which was wise as the Welsh are excellent in the air.
Ireland never put width on their game at the crucial stage of being a metre or less out. Instinct tells you to pick and go but width gives you space and space will bring out spontaneity. Any one of Simon Zebo, Rob Kearney or Jared Payne can create magic given the room.
I know Ireland play rugby with incredible passion. It means a lot to be wearing that green top, that you can see from watching them play but there are levels of passion.
When Ireland so heartbreakingly lost to the All Blacks in November 2013 they had got to probably there highest level of passion ever. That is the level you aim to get to every time the green top goes over your head whether it be New Zealand or Japan that are your opponents.
The Passion gives you that energy and assists the belief. In the Wales loss Ireland seemed to lack just that 0.01% of energy. Having that extra tiny bit might be the difference between scoring after 32 phases and not scoring