Horwill insists world cup is not over for Australia

The Wallabies are looking to regroup and regain momentum in their next World Cup match against the United States after their stunning unravelling against spirited Ireland on Saturday.

The Australians were clueless to combat Ireland’s tormenting pressure and lost the high-intensity contest 15-6 at Eden Park to virtually hand the Irish control of Pool C.

Instead of facing Wales, Samoa or Fiji in the last eight, the Wallabies are now likely to have a much tougher quarter-final against defending champions South Africa.

It was a sombre Wallaby camp who left Auckland on Sunday for Wellington where their third group match against the 18th-ranked United States on Friday takes on extra significance.

“It was certainly a taste of reality but it’s not the taste we’re unfamiliar with,” coach Robbie Deans said on Sunday.

“It’s part of rugby and that potential is there every time you enter a game.

“Now we’re in a circumstance that was always going to come within the tournament, but it’s just come a little bit earlier.

“There was no doubt there was an education, particularly for a number of players who are in their first World Cup, and we have to learn more if we are to push on and achieve anything.”

The Australians were beaten up at the contact and in the scrums and playmaking halves, Will Genia and Quade Cooper, were starved of front-foot ball to launch attacks.

“We were poor, we didn’t allow our backs to get any continuity because we were getting stifled at the breakdown,” skipper James Horwill said.

“There are a number of things that we didn’t do well enough, and the Irish did better than us. Obviously the breakdown was an area where we were quite poor and they were very good.

“They had a set plan to slow us up and they did it well and you’ve got to give them credit for that.”

But Horwill saw a positive in the quick turnaround to the next game against the Americans with the tournament destiny still in his team’s hands.

“The focus is now for the USA so we travel to Wellington and we’ve got to get on with the job because it’s not over yet,” he said.

“We need to stay tight and focus on improving. We need to learn from experiences like this.

“We’ve been in situations before where we haven’t put a good account of ourselves and we’ve learnt from it. We can do it, we need to do it and the beauty is we get a short turnaround to do it again.”

Deans refused to make excuses for the withdrawals of outstanding openside flanker David Pocock and experienced hooker Stephen Moore before the match.

“David’s got a tight back, he’s in discomfort and can’t function effectively,” he said.

“He’s had a scan and there’s nothing sinister, we’ve been assured, but he’s just not comfortable.

“To suggest that was a point of difference, I don’t think David could have stemmed that tide.

“Stephen Moore was nauseous early and got to the dressingroom and made the call early when we got there prior to the warmup that he wasn’t right (stomach upset),” Deans aid.

“That’s a tough thing to do for a player but it was the right thing.”

Deans said it will be the physical state of his players that will be decide the selection of his next lineup.

Asked about the likelihood of now having to play the Springboks in a knockout game in the quarters, Deans said: “USA this week suits us, then we’ll look at the next one.

“Those things are unfolding, we won’t waste one second contemplating it. We have to earn that right firstly ourselves.”

Quade Cooper, whose attacking influence was largely curbed by the swarming Irish, said the Wallabies were keen to get back on the field and make up for their poor showing.

“Everyone’s stinging to get back out and play. That’s the good thing about this tournament is that we are still in it, but it’s going to be a harder path now,” Cooper said.

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