Bundee Aki: Ireland have six days to salvage RWC preparations

Joe Schmidt’s side travel to Cardiff after their record defeat to England at Twickenham

Bundee Aki tackles Manu Tuilagi during Ireland’s defeat in London. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Bundee Aki tackles Manu Tuilagi during Ireland’s defeat in London. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

 

Bundee Aki has admitted Ireland have six days to salvage their World Cup preparations.

Ireland leaked eight tries en route to their heaviest ever defeat by England in Saturday’s 57-15 thumping at Twickenham.

Joe Schmidt’s men now face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday before hosting Warren Gatland’s side a week later in Dublin, with their World Cup opener against Scotland fast approaching on September 22nd.

Connacht centre Aki lamented Ireland’s heaviest loss under head coach Schmidt, conceding only a back-to-basics approach will now suffice.

“We’ve got six days to turn this around, to be able to put in a performance we’re proud of,” said New Zealand-born Aki.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t replicate that kind of performance. So it’s time to put in some good, quality training and get back to the drawing board.

“We’d rather get things wrong now than in the future. But we were very slow-footed against England, and we are disappointed.

Bundee Aki scores a late consolation try for Ireland at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Bundee Aki scores a late consolation try for Ireland at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

“England are a quality side; give them a sniff and they will blow you away, and that’s exactly what they did to us.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do; we were off the boil completely. It doesn’t get any easier at all, going to Wales, but in a way that’s the best thing.”

Rampant England ripped through Ireland at every possible opportunity on Saturday, becoming the first team to put more than 50 points on Schmidt’s Ireland.

Only New Zealand have ever scored more points in one match against Ireland, with Eddie Jones’ England flexing some serious World Cup muscle.

Joe Cokanasiga scored twice, with Elliot Daly, Manu Tuilagi, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Tom Curry and Luke Cowan-Dickie all also crossing.

Aki and Jordan Larmour scored for Ireland, but the visitors were nearing full-strength and still received a comprehensive and troubling hiding.

Aki revealed boss Schmidt dished out some home truths in the post-match dressing room debrief — but insisted the dejected players hardly needed any telling.

“I think all the boys knew what the reality was,” said Aki. “Joe gave us a few hard words which was fair enough.

“But now it’s about how the boys bounce back, and take it forward from here.

“We’ve got to get the basics right first, make our tackles, dominate our tackles, get in the line together and get out set-piece right first, before we start thinking about anything else.”

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