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15th Oct 2023

“You cannot do that” – Matt Williams on roughest reason Ireland lost to the All Blacks

Simon Kelly

Matt Williams

He laid it all out bare.

The entire country felt the heartbreak just as hard as those on the pitch last night as Ireland were narrowly beaten by a resilient New Zealand in the World Cup quarter-finals in Paris.

Fine margins were decisive for Andy Farrell’s men as, despite a huge surge in the last few minutes, Ireland were unable to break past New Zealand’s defence.

Speaking in the Virgin Media studio post match, the panel were full of praise for both teams’ efforts.

However, while Shane Horgan and Rob Kearney pinpointed some costly mistakes from Ireland, it was former Scotland and Ulster coach Matt Williams who laid it out bare how they ultimately faltered against the All Blacks.

Matt Williams explains reasons why Ireland lost yet another World Cup quarter final

First praising the “phenomenal defensive performance” from New Zealand, Williams said:

“You can’t drop your lineouts, you can’t let in that try to Will Jordan where it’s just missed tackles, people not communicating. Jordie Barrett misses a penalty, [Ireland] give away the dumbest of penalties straight afterwards.”

Continuing his point, Williams added: “The boys are right we didn’t play at our best in play as we should in almost every aspect and, against New Zealand, at any time, you cannot do that.”

Ireland’s devastating loss will be felt for a long time to come, and the few mistakes made rued for a lifetime. However, Williams zoned in on how these Ireland players will have to pick up and look forward to the next challenge.

“You’re in this void,” said the former coach. “It’s like a mourning. You’re trying to mourn the loss of that mission, until you can get your head around what’s the next mission.

“That takes time to let one go, mourn it and come to another one. ”

Williams went on to praise the likes of Leo Cullen at Leinster and other Irish coaches in how they manage the players differently after a big loss and refocus their minds on the next goal, saying that some players will want to jump back into playing for their clubs, while others might need more time off.

“What Irish coaches are fantastic at is saying – ‘You can play next week mate, because you need it. You, take two weeks off, take you’re wife, I’ll see you in two weeks'”

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