Best and Nucifora pull no punc...
Rugby

Best and Nucifora pull no punches on Ireland World Cup failure

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

08:17 5 Dec 2019

Rory Best and David Nucifora have laid out their numerous reasons for the failure of the Ireland rugby team to get beyond a Rugby World Cup quarter-final again.

Best lamented the players relying too heavily on Joe Schmidt and the rest of the coaching team: "We just let Joe do everything" the former skipper said at a media briefing.

While IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora suggested, among other things, tactics didn't evolve under the Kiwi.

"Should we have developed our game further? Potentially, yes, with the benefit of hindsight," Nucifora said.

"We pay our coaches for those decisions, they've been good at those for a long period of time.

"We could have gone down that path, but I want to be clear there's no guarantee it would have produced a better result.

"Should we have armed our players with more tools?

"In hindsight, we should have but that's easy for me to say that sitting here now . . . it potentially could have really turned to custard for us. It's a learning for us in terms of managing the future."

Complacency

Best suggested that an inevitable complacency had slipped into the player group after a stunning 2018. The Ulster man laid the blame at the coaches' door for information overload in the final hours before games.

"The morning of the New Zealand game, whatever happened, the coaches wanted a huddle and to go over some plays," Best said.

"I think there was a little worry at that stage that we hadn't emphasised something enough."

That moment was part of a cycle of the players ceding too much control to Schmidt, a rot that had set in long before the quarter-final against the All-Blacks.

"I think we started to become - not dictated to - but we just let Joe do everything" according to the former captain.

"The great thing about 2018 was we had our own voice and our own mind. There was that freedom at the end of the week to step into a space to lead.

"You can't just turn up at the Aviva stadium at five o'clock 'Right, it's our turn to lead.' You can get a bit lost.

"I think in 2019 that end of the week space started to be filled a bit too much with coaches.

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Read more about

2019 Rugby World Cup All Blacks David Nucifora Ireland Ireland Vs All Blacks Japan Joe Schmidt Leadership Group New Zealand Rory Best Rugby

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