Josh van der Flier admits Ireland 'left it behind them' against world champions New Zealand

The Leinster flanker lamented Ireland's accuracy and inability to convert possession into scores

Josh van der Flier

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Josh van der Flier says he saw no problem with New Zealand's tactics during yesterday's defeat to the All Blacks and lamented Ireland's inability to convert on the high levels of possession in the opposition 22.

The Leinster flanker, for the second time against Steve Hansen's side, saw a a long period of game time after replacing CJ Stander in the first half.

New Zealand were criticised for a number of high challenges in the game and tackles which among them saw Robbie Henshaw leave the pitch on a stretcher. Van der Flier, however, says he didn't see anything untoward in the All-Black tactics.

"[It was a] fair game, I thought," he told reporters after the final whistle. "I was in the middle of rucks the whole time, so it's never that nice in there.

"They got off to a good start, a try-scoring start during the first long play of the game. From then on you'll be playing a different team if they get into the lead. The bounce of the ball probably wasn't there for us as much as it probably was in Chicago. We just have to focus on the things that we can control. 

"We could have been better and executed better when we got our chances."

New Zealand's Beauden Barrett taken down by Andrew Trimble (left) and Josh van der Flier. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Asked whether he felt that his side 'left it behind them' he said: "We did a little, yeah. When you look at the amount of possession in their 22 and we couldn't convert.

"We lost the ball a good few times. The accuracy was probably down. That's obviously disappointing, but there are positives to take from the performance. Their defence was good and we still managed to get into their 22 so many times."

From a personal standpoint, the Leinster flanker admits he is fortunate to get as much playing time against one of  the best sides in the world, but that it comes with a cost to the team.

"Very strange, it's probably not a good thing for the lads who are starting really and it's disappointing to lose lads to injury the way it's happened. Hopefully CJ will be back quickly.

"I can't be as pleased today having lost, but it's good to be playing against probably the best team in the world. You never really know how you'll be at that level until you've played it so from that perspective it's good to finally play against teams like that. 

"I know I played against England last year but doing it once, you want to see if it was a once-off or if you can stand up at that level. There was positives to take from it but I had a few sloppy moments. A bit to work on."