The review is over, the page has been turned and only positives remain from the ashes of Ireland’s RBS 6 Nations defeat to Wales as Scotland come into the sights of Joe Schmidt’s team.
For Eoin Reddan, those positives in the 23-16 loss in Cardiff last weekend are enough to maintain the belief Ireland still have the momentum to carry them to a victory in Murrayfield Saturday which will give them a shot at back-to-back Six Nations titles.
Monday’s review conducted by head coach Schmidt had been predictably forensic and, forwards coach Simon Easterby has said, no different in defeat than they are in victory.
“Just simplifying things,” Reddan said yesterday, “highlighting things we could have done that would have made things easier from the start and things we could have done right throughout the game.
“Just trying to keep our discipline and cut out errors, not putting ourselves in a position where we had to chase the game. The positive was that we were able to claw our way back.
“You learn a little bit about yourselves that you mightn’t have had to do so far. At the same time, ideally we don’t want to have to do that every week.”
Scrum-half Reddan, who helped lift Ireland’s tempo when he came off the bench just after the hour at the Millennium Stadium, had been encouraged by Ireland’s “efforts and re-efforts and re-doubling of efforts, even though things weren’t going to plan”.
With Wales, England and even France also in with a chance of winning the title, it would be tempting to be distracted by events elsewhere as Saturday’s action unfolds, even if it will pay to keep abreast of the Welsh performance in Italy as Ireland prepare to kick off in Scotland.
“The way to win the title is probably not to think about the title, if you know what I mean,” Reddan said. “Test matches are such big occasions and it’s frustrating for you listening to us here because you want to grasp onto the fact that we want to go and win the title now and all that sort of thing. We have a responsibility to make sure there’s no margin for error or complacency. If you take your eye of that for a second there’s no championship, there’s no win.
“I think if you accept that we want to win the championship and everyone does, then you work back from there and say ‘how can we go and win the championship’? And I think treating Scotland as you would if there wasn’t a championship on the line is the key. Realising how good they are, realising their threats, and treating them just as you would if this game didn’t need to be a points differential. Treating them like that and just keeping it on for the whole game. And not getting too carried away with the big picture. Just doing your own little thing a bit harder and a bit faster.
“We have the responsibility of letting people dream and think big. But our own responsibility is to think about the little things.”
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