LONDON – Ireland coach Joe Schmidt lambasted his players for missing 34 tackles and looking sluggish in defence after they were thrashed 57-15 by England at Twickenham on Saturday.
It was a dismal World Cup warm-up performance by Ireland off the back of an underwhelming Six Nations campaign this year which they went into as favourites.
"There’s a malaise about the team, you can’t blame individuals," Schmidt said, tempering his remarks by saying he had expected a heavy-legged performance given Ireland are further behind in their preparation than other teams.
The Ireland coach did not sugarcoat his assessment of flyhalf Ross Byrne's performance, who failed to make the most of an opportunity in the absence of Johnny Sexton.
"It was tough for Ross, you want some set-piece ball on the front foot and Ross didn't get that opportunity, it was also a tough day defensively with some big men coming down his channel," Schmidt said.