Ryan ready to go again as Ireland turn to face Russia

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James Ryan after the final whistle. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Nobody thinks it a good idea to be asking international rugby players to play games just four days apart.

Joe Schmidt was annoyed enough about having just six to prepare for today’s World Cup meeting with Japan on the back of their opener against Scotland but there’s clearly an upside to the fact that Ireland play again this Thursday, against Russia.

Fresh bodies will still be required, regardless of the absolute need to bag five points after this shock defeat to the hosts, and there should be no shortage of volunteers eager to wash the bitter taste of defeat from their hair.

Saddle up again and ride on. What else can they do?

“You have to,” said James Ryan. “It is all about reaction now. We can feel sorry for ourselves or we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and go again. And that is our intention.”

Like Schmidt, Ryan wasn’t about to start dealing in excuses based on the short prep time for this one. It was indiscipline that cost them, he said. Three points here, another three there.

There was applause too for Japan. Class was the word Ryan used to describe them. Ireland could have no argument about the result, whatever they might say about the referee behind closed doors.

“The message at half time was just: pressure. We could have started better, didn’t start as well as last week and we were letting them play too much.

“So, we looked to apply more pressure in the second-half. When the subs came on, we did well to apply decent defensive pressure at times but it wasn’t consistent enough.”

Japan saw to that. Jamie Joseph’s side injected this game with the sort of tempo that was always going to narrow any perceived gap between these teams and Ireland’s defence lacked the zip and intent of the Sunday before.

This was not unexpected.

“A lot of teams like to play with that kind of tempo. They did it really well today. You know, it is probably different to the type of game we might get with South Africa but it works for them.”

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