Stephen Ferris namechecks several Irish players who failed to deliver 5 months ago

Stephen Ferris namechecks several Irish players who failed to deliver

Former Ireland international Stephen Ferris has said that the Irish players don't look like they're enjoying their rugby after their 25-7 defeat to Wales on Saturday.

Ireland were soundly beaten by a Wales team that won their third Grand Slam under Warren Gatland as Joe Schmidt's side slumped to their second defeat of the tournament.

Ireland have won 23 of their last 26 matches but have underwhelmed throughout this tournament and Ferris believes the team has fell well short of their mark this season.

"I questioned Ireland’s form after the first game against England," he told RTÉ’s Game On. "France didn’t pitch up at the Aviva Stadium last weekend even though everyone was talking Ireland up.

"I thought the referee was pretty harsh on them on a number of occasions, but in saying that, Wales were by far the better team. They [Ireland] were absolutely blown off the pitch.

"Rory Best, Johnny Sexton, Peter O’Mahony, they all come out and say they expect standards of each other, what the coaching set-up expects and they have been so far off those standards this Six Nations," he said.

"As a collective they have been off the mark, but individually they have too. Today was a nightmare for Johnny Sexton. Conor Murray couldn’t get himself into the game. Rory Best didn’t have his best game, Peter O’Mahony was non-existent, as were a number of other players."

Meanwhile Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said that his side's discipline let them down and added that his side did not respond well to pressure.

“I’m disappointed,” Schmidt said afterwards. “Our discipline doesn’t usually let us down, it allowed them to get a distance ahead of us, they scored after a couple of minutes and you’re always under a little bit of pressure and we didn’t respond overly well to that pressure giving up those penalties.

“We weren’t as good as Wales today. They were hugely emotionally up for it and I know because we were in the same position last year going to Twickenham and you get another 5%. It’s hard to match but you’ve got to be able to match it, there will be occasions like that in the future.”