"Maybe you should keep it in-field and chase it" - Ireland go down with nothing left to give 10 months ago

"Maybe you should keep it in-field and chase it" - Ireland go down with nothing left to give

From early doors, Ireland were in bother.

The pack were breathing hard and stepping slowly. Their legs were heavy and their lungs were under siege. Our backs thundered into the game but from the 20th minute onwards, it was all out defence.

And you can only play that kind of game for so long. Eventually, something has to give. Japan had all the ball and they had all the flair. The skills, offloads and elusive runs were all being made by men in red and white and as the game wore on, they began to punch hole after hole in a groggy green defence.

It was only going to end one way.

The Japanese were much the better team and with the hopes of a nation beating down on top of them in Fukori, the 8/1 outsiders and the World's ninth ranked team beat its first ranked team and in doing so completed one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history.

They smiled and celebrated. Jumped and roared. For Joe Schmidt's Ireland, it's back to the drawing board. This wasn't in the script. Not after last weekend. This was a disaster and Ireland's Rugby World Cup looks in real bother now.

Yes, bonus point wins against Russia and Samoa will see us qualify for the quarter finals. But this defeat will knock some serious confidence out of the group.

On top of that, only if Scotland beat Japan can we top the group now. There is a likelihood of that happening, but even at that rate, South Africa will be licking their lips.

Ireland had nothing to give here. Four down with seven to go, you thought they might be able to rally. But knock-ons and misplaced passes were the theme of the day.

Japan were doing as they wanted as Ireland faded away in the Fukori humidity. Eventually, the penalty came and local hero Kenki Fukuoka sent them properly wild and seven points ahead.

Ireland had their chances again, but Japan had them pinned in. The buzzer went and even though the ball came back to Joey Carbery, he was beyond his own try-line and obviously gauged there and then that it would be a wiser move to protect the bonus point rather than to chase down a leveller.

And the sad things is, it looked like the right decision from Carbery. Ireland didn't have it in them out there. They were shell-shocked, confused and out on their feet. That's why the majority felt it was a clever move.

Ireland had struggled to break a tackle for the previous sixty minutes so the chances of them running one in from the endline were slim to nil. At the same time, you wouldn't expect New Zealand to give it up if they'd gotten a chance.

Jamie Heaslip reckoned we might have been better off kicking and chasing.

"I don't know if you should do that. Maybe you should have kicked it up-field and chased it," he said on RTÉ.

Stephen Ferris knew what Carbery was thinking.

"I think they were scared of letting the bonus point slip away," he said.

Nobody knows where it all went wrong for Ireland.