"We felt like we let the fans down a bit" 6 months ago

"We felt like we let the fans down a bit"

In the absence of a smoking gun to convince the public that all is as well as it was a few months ago, and whilst question marks remain over the flair and fluidity, the Irish team are at least offering a consistent bargaining chip.

The honesty is there and what seems like a genuine desire to get it right. You see it in simple, deliberate acts - running into the changing rooms at half time, Murray tossing the ball away aggressively after a try as if to say this is nowhere near enough, and the raw, concerted effort to cover the backline where they didn't cover it last week.

As pundits and fans cast judgement over their World Cup credentials and Joe Schmidt deliberates over how to get back to the standards of the world number two outfit, the players are responding to defeat to England with effort and endurance, if nothing else.

Schmidt admitted after the 22-13 win in Murrayfield that the team were anxious. They had just lost a competitive home game for the first time in five years and, suddenly, they're going to a Scottish fortress with their entire campaign on the line. So, with the chips down, Peter O'Mahony and his team mates just kept the heads down. They got to work, they tackled, they stood together and broke lines and, when it all added up after 80 minutes of rugby, it was enough.

That's all they were interested in on Saturday and that commitment was the bare minimum that was required in their eyes because, as O'Mahony said afterwards, they let the support down.

"Our fans at home, they always show for us. They fill the Aviva every time we go there," he told Virgin Media Sport.

"We felt like we let them down a bit last week. 

"We knew it was going to be a difficult task coming here but we know the character we have in our group and that certainly didn't dissolve overnight. "

Despite leading by two at the break and digging it out through a tense and tight second half, O'Mahony disputed the fact that they were nervous.

"You go into the dressing room and you've got characters that are too strong to have that belief dissipate.

"We get huge confidence from each other, we know we're good enough and it was an incredible performance to beat a side with the quality that Scotland have."