Richardt Strauss believes the wake-up call of two Test match defeats will be enough to shock Ireland back into top form at the World Cup.
Leinster hooker Strauss branded Ireland’s consecutive defeats to Wales and England “pretty disappointing” but vowed Joe Schmidt’s men will now switch on when it matters most.
Ireland open their World Cup Pool D campaign by taking on Canada in Cardiff on Saturday week, with Strauss expecting a quickfire upswing in performance.
“We’d rather go into the competition knowing that we have to improve and be sharp than going in complacent and get an awakening in the tournament, when it’s too late,” said Strauss.
“At least we’re going in now knowing that we have to work hard and there’s stuff to work on, that we have to be on point in everything we do.
“There’s loads of room for improvement for us and I think it will only get better and better the more time we spend together as a group of 31.
“Lads can get more time together now. There are some combinations that haven’t played a lot together, so we’re looking forward to the campaign.”
Ireland lost out 16-10 to Wales in Dublin in Paul O’Connell’s final Test match at the Aviva Stadium, before slipping up 21-13 to England at Twickenham on Saturday.
Schmidt’s men have now dropped from an all-time high second in the world rankings to sixth, according to the latest standings released by World Rugby this week.
South Africa-born front-rower Strauss believes Ireland’s recent problems are all a series of small fixes that can be remedied in time for the World Cup kick-off.
“The last two games are pretty disappointing,” said Strauss.
“There’s definitely stuff we have to work on, stuff we aren’t happy with.
“In general I think we can see that the way we’re going about stuff and the direction we’re going in is what we’re looking to do.
“There are positives in that. There’s a lot of stuff we looked at this morning that wasn’t nice to see, but that’s stuff to be worked on in the next couple of weeks before the Canada game.
“It’s all stuff we’ve done before and I think it’s stuff we have to work on.
“We made a lot of individual errors that we have to work on ourselves.
“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel: it’s small stuff we have to fix.
“It is right across the park but it is fixable.”