The rawness of a World Cup quarter-final in which Ireland failed to produce their best effort will live long with Johnny Sexton but the veteran fly-half insists there will be no blame game when the IRFU produces its review of a faltering 2019 campaign for Joe Schmidt’s team.
Bundee Aki will head into a disciplinary hearing in Tokyo today to decide his World Cup fate with the backing of old friends from the Samoa camp as Ireland hoped for clemency for their centre ahead of this weekend’s quarter-finals.
With qualification for the knockout phase secured after an Ireland performance more in keeping with what we have come to expect from this squad, the only outstanding issue surrounded the not insignificant detail as to whom Ireland would meet in their quarter-final in Tokyo next weekend.
This was always a race against time for Steve Jackson. The Samoan head coach was only appointed to the role last September, chosen from a list of 40 applicants and handed ownership of a team that had to qualify for this World Cup via a two-legged play-off against Germany.