Eddie O'Sullivan: 'This was an absolute tonking'

Nowhere to hide for Ireland's players after heavy defeat as pundits have their say

Eddie O'Sullivan: 'This was an absolute tonking'

Eddie O'Sullivan and Stephen Ferris didn't hold back in their criticism of Ireland's performance after their abject 46-14 defeat at the hands of reigning world champions New Zealand.

The All Blacks operated on a different level for the 80 minutes of action in Tokyo, with neither O'Sullivan or Ferris sugarcoating that fact for viewers.

Former Ireland manager said Ireland "didn't come to the party to play" and were reduced to the role of spectators as the All Blacks put on a rugby masterclass to secure a semi-final meeting with Eddie Jones' England.

"We were absolutely demolished, we weren't at the races. We got torn to shreds," O'Sullivan said after the game. "There's no shame in losing to New Zealand, it's the nature of the defeat that's really disappointing, but this was an absolute tonking."

Former international Stephen Ferris was similarly scathing in his analysis, telling viewers that the Irish players went into their shells.

"New Zealand's big players stood up today and Ireland's didn't. Johnny Sexton, I haven't seen him have as bad a game in a long, long time for Ireland," Ferris contended as Ireland suffered another quarter-final exit.

"Sometimes, in the big games, it's about who wants it more. But I don't think that would have mattered today. New Zealand were just so far ahead of Ireland."

Ferris said that "you've got to tip your hat to New Zealand" but left viewers in no doubt that he believed Ireland underperformed on the biggest stage once again.

"Jacob Stockdale, try-scoring machine, he went missing for 80 minutes. The two second rows - you normally see James Ryan making himself large and being an absolute nuisance - he went missing today. We just went into our shells."

The defeat signals the end of Rory Best's playing career, and also sees Joe Schmidt and Greg Feek depart their positions, with Andy Farrell to take the reins ahead of the 2020 Six Nations.

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