Conway says Ireland refused to panic after England humbling before World Cup

Munster wing hails Ireland for sticking to their guns.

By Press Association Published: 23 September 2019 - 3.38am
Rugby Union

Northern Ireland

Republic of Ireland

Andrew Conway has paid tribute to Ireland’s resolve in refusing to panic after their record 57-15 loss to England at Twickenham ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Munster star Conway stormed in for Ireland’s bonus-point try in Sunday’s 27-3 thumping of Scotland that allowed Joe Schmidt’s men to start their tournament in style in Yokohama.

Ireland’s comprehensive humbling in London on August 10 prompted questions about head coach Schmidt’s World Cup plans, but Conway revealed there had never been any talk of great change in the wake of that loss.

Ireland v Scotland – Pool A – 2019 Rugby World Cup – International Stadium Yokohama
Andrew Conway, centre, impressed in Ireland’s 27-3 win over Scotland (Adam Davy/PA)

Conway hailed Ireland’s forward pack as a bunch of sharply-focused “savages” for their aggressive display that set the tone for Sunday’s potent victory.

Asked if the win offered some vindication for Schmidt’s long-term vision, Conway said: “You take lessons from that, you don’t panic and think that all the good work from the last six years isn’t there.

“There’s an experienced group there, and they know that bad days do happen and you’d rather have that in August than (from) September to November.

“Our life is way easier when the forwards perform like they did against Scotland; they were savages.

“They were nicely pumped up and ready for everything, they backed everything up with their actions.

Ireland v Scotland – Pool A – 2019 Rugby World Cup – International Stadium Yokohama
Rory Best, left, and CJ Stander, right, during Ireland’s win over Scotland in Yokohama at the World Cup (Ashley Western/PA)

“It’s a joy to play with this pack when they are playing like that.

“When the forwards are doing it up front we need to back that up and not give the opposition an easy ride out wide.

“But if they’re getting off the line and dominating collisions, it’s a whole different world for us out wide, because we’ve got time to read, to see what’s in front of us and what they are planning.”

Conway toasted his seventh try for Ireland by laying the credit at the feet of scrum-half Conor Murray, whose quick thinking he explained helped Ireland exploit an exposed blindside.

The 28-year-old winger has raced quickly from a nervous wait to find out whether he would make Ireland’s final 31-man World Cup squad, to bagging his debut try in the global tournament.

Ireland v Scotland – Pool A – 2019 Rugby World Cup – International Stadium Yokohama
Tadhg Furlong, pictured, celebrating his try against Scotland on Sunday (Adam Davy/PA)

Ireland will roll on to face hosts Japan in Shizuoka on Saturday, with the ever-humble Conway always prepared to put collective interests ahead of personal gain.

“That day was a tough day, I wasn’t wrong,” said Conway, looking back on the day spent waiting to discover his World Cup selection fate.

“But since then obviously you just turn the page. Once you’re in you’re in.

“I know myself that if Earlsy had been fully fit I probably wouldn’t have trained this week.

“But that doesn’t really matter, I just need to stay as ready as I can be constantly, and the chances will come.

Ireland v Scotland – Pool A – 2019 Rugby World Cup – International Stadium Yokohama
Andrew Conway has hailed Conor Murray, pictured, for his part in Ireland’s fourth try on Sunday (Adam Davy/PA)

“You’ve got to stay fit, stay prepared and whenever you get the opportunity you’ve got to take it. That’s all you can do.

“For the try, I think there was a high ball, and Jordan (Larmour) did really well to feed off the scraps.

“And as I was getting off the ground Conor Murray shouted ‘Conway!’ and I immediately knew what he meant.

“He meant get wide, and I knew he was going to hit me flat. So it was very nice to score at the World Cup.”