Former Irish Rugby head coach Eddie O’Sullivan delivered a scathing appraisal of Ireland’s performance in today’s Pool A clash with Russia, saying the match was “like watching paint dry”.
Speaking on RTE after the game, O’Sullivan expressed his frustrations at the Ireland performance.
“We had these sparks again where we played a bit of rugby but this is against a bunch of amateurs, we’re 21 points up at half-time, they play a quarter of the game with 14 men, and we eke out two tries...the last one coming in the 76th minute when the Russians are out on their feet.”
Addressing his fellow pundits Jamie Heaslip and Brent Pope, O’Sullivan implored, “It’s just a terrible performance lads, let’s call it for what it is.
“We should have put these guys away for 40 or 50 points. The positives - yeah, we got the bonus point, but there’s nothing else there - zero like.”
O’Sullivan, who coached Ireland for the ill-fated 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign in France, also criticised the players who had come into the Ireland side, saying they hadn’t done enough to force their way into Joe Schmidt’s plans.
“When you play a team like Russia, if you can’t stand out in a game with that much dominance against a team like Russia, you’re not really saying anything.
“An ordinary performance is not good enough against a team of that standard. You’ve got to light it up, and I didn’t see anyone really lighting it up.”
When Heaslip countered that some players had performed to standard, O’Sullivan was quick to counter, saying “the point here is today was a chance to set things right after the Japan shock, that doesn’t set anything right today.”
O’Sullivan also described the style of play as “stagnant rugby” as he expressed doubts that Ireland can trouble either New Zealand or South Africa in a potential quarter-final tie.