Six Nations 2015: Joe Schmidt says Ireland defeat self-inflicted

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Joe Schmidt paid tribute to the Welsh defence after the game

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt said his side only had themselves to blame as Wales ended their Grand Slam hopes by winning 23-16 at the Millennium Stadium.

Schmidt paid tribute to the Welsh team's heroic defending in the match, but felt that his side could have done a lot better.

"We didn't help ourselves although a lot of credit has to go to the Welsh defence," said the Ireland coach.

"We let ourselves down a little bit. We probably had enough possession to win."

With Johnny Sexton not the orchestrating force that he had been in Ireland's earlier Six Nations games, Schmidt's side fell 12-0 behind in the first half.

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Six Nations 2015: Wales 23-16 Ireland Highlights

However, the Irish regrouped to cut the margin to 15-9 at half-time and Schmidt felt they created enough chances in the second half to have completed a comeback victory.

Schmidt also hinted that the Irish camp felt slightly aggrieved with some of the decisions made by referee Wayne Barnes as Ireland pressed strongly during the second half.

"In the first half, if you were at all near the ball, you were very quickly penalised.

"We just didn't quite get that consistency in the second half and we didn't quite get the speed of ruck ball that maybe would have helped us.

"They [Wales] put in a lot of tackles and hung in really well when we did get pressure inside their 22.

"We weren't as accurate as we would have liked to have been. Part of that was Welsh pressure and part was a little bit of a lack of continuity from us."

In the closing play of the game, Ireland desperately attempted to maul their way to a try which would have given replacement fly-half Ian Madigan a chance to level from a conversion.

Jamie Heaslip shows his disappointment after Ireland's defeat in Cardiff
Jamie Heaslip and his Ireland team-mates' hopes of only the country's third ever Grand Slam slipped away

However, with the Irish within two metres of the Welsh line, referee Barnes awarded the home side a penalty which sealed their win.

"I felt we got our maul set up really well and it was disappointing to at least not come out of it [the game] with one point," Schmidt said.

Schmidt's side could still win the championship next weekend if they beat Scotland at Murrayfield next Saturday, although points difference may decide who lifts the Six Nations trophy.

The Ireland coach is adamant that his team are capable of regrouping from this weekend's disappointment for the trip to Edinburgh.

"We responded pretty well last year when we lost by a one-score margin at Twickenham, but felt we probably played pretty well in Twickenham," he added.

"Today I think we let ourselves down a little bit."

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