Rugby Cian Tracey: ‘Irish players’ failure to execute the basics will leave a sour taste for a long time’

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This time four years ago, Ireland trailed Argentina 17-0 inside 13 minutes. It took New Zealand 22 minutes to run riot and clock up the same unassailable lead.

It felt like we were reliving that Cardiff nightmare all over again. Nothing was ever supposed to be as bad as that, yet here we were.

Ireland knew that they had to be close to perfect and even at that, it may not have been enough, but they were so far off the pace, it was frightening.

Time and time again, the ball hit the deck as sloppy errors destroyed any semblance of momentum.

It all started with Aaron Smith’s first try. Ireland fell asleep around the fringes of a ruck with Rory Best unable to get around quick enough to close the gap. Smith could hardly believe his luck.

It was a remarkably soft try to concede and it’s one that all started with Robbie Henshaw knocking-on in midfield.

The All Blacks are ruthless at punishing mistakes and if you give them a sniff, the sense of inevitability is unavoidable.

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10-0 down, it called for cool heads and for leaders to step up and steady the ship. What followed was a horror show.

A rare chance to earn decent field position was scuppered by Johnny Sexton’s failure to find touch with a penalty. The out-half went for the miracle play but Richie Mo’unga read it and did brilliantly to keep the ball in play.

It felt like a huge moment and so it proved because three minutes later, Smith was crossing for his second try.

Not before Tadhg Furlong knocked on from a scrappy Irish lineout, however. It was quickly going from bad to worse.

We won

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