Irish skipper O'Connell dejected after England defeat

Dejected Ireland captain Paul O'Connell walks off the pitch at Twickenham after defeat by England
Dejected Ireland captain Paul O'Connell walks off the pitch at Twickenham after defeat by England

Paul O'Connell admits Ireland have "fallen short" in their preparations for the Rugby World Cup after slipping to a second successive warm-up defeat.

Ireland's 21-13 defeat by England at Twickenham on Saturday, with O'Connell scoring Ireland's only try, came a week after a 16-10 loss to Wales in Dublin.

"I wouldn't say alarm bells are ringing but we're very disappointed," he said.

"In the last three games we've fallen short in a lot of the things we need to do to secure a result."

Ireland beat Wales and Scotland in their first two warm-up matches but performances have dipped in recent weeks, with the opening 40 minutes against England described by former international Shane Horgan as 'the worst performance under the Joe Schmidt era'.

Jack McGrath, Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip trudge off the pitch at Twickenham after Ireland's defeat by England
Jack McGrath, Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip trudge off the pitch at Twickenham after Ireland's defeat by England

"We started very poorly," said Ireland captain O'Connell.

"England dealt with the aerial threat very well, and when we had the ball in hand we dropped it.

"I think we put a lot of pressure on the England lineout but they got a seven-metre drive, forced a penalty advantage and scored a try off it. The same with seven-metre drive in the first half, we lost it and England stole it.

"We kept turning over the ball.

"You can't accumulate that many losses and expect to win the game."

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