Conor O’Shea: ‘We gave away a few very, very soft tries’

Italy coach relatively happy despite defeat to Ireland in Dublin

Dave Kearney Ireland’s second try against Italy. Photograph: Getty Images

Dave Kearney Ireland’s second try against Italy. Photograph: Getty Images

 

“Always a thought,” said Italy coach Conor O’Shea when asked if he believed his team could hold the lead against Ireland when they went ahead twice in the first half.

“Always a thought. That was a match we wanted to win,” added the former Ireland fullback. “It’s very hard to contextualise when you go for your first hit out. I thought there was a lot of positives from us in terms of physically where we are.

“The obvious work on is our side of the ball and their side of the ball in terms of the exits, where I think we made Andrew Conway’s market value go up a few quid today. I thought in terms of match-ups across the board we were more than able to hold our own.”

O’Shea added that he believed Italy gave away some easy scores and while he remained respectful of Ireland and their world position, declined to talk them up.

“It was two teams in difficult conditions,” said O’Shea. “It comes to the stage of what we control. We’ve got to get it right. All in all we wanted to win but we’re pretty comfortable where we are.

“I think we gave away a few very, very soft tries. But at the end of it we’ll look at our execution of things. The set piece at the start, maybe we had scrum issues but as the game went on we got stronger and stronger in the set piece and I thought our lineout performed very well today. They’re the things we look for in these games.”

Ireland scored either side of half-time to win 29-10 in the end having fallen behind twice. In that O’Shea gave credit to, Ireland drawing a comparison to the world number one side (for the time being at least) the All Blacks.

“You have to always give credit to the opposition,” added the Italian coach. “It’s something that the All Blacks do in terms of when they score, the championship minutes, and what leads to the field positions.

“That’s what I’d be looking at the lack of execution and precision for us under pressure. There’s not a physical differential now. Everyday these guys, their body fat is going down, their weight is going up and they are getting fitter.

“We’ve a big, big dream for this world Cup. I believe in what I’m seeing and I think we are going in the right way.”

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