Munster second row Donncha O’Callaghan has described Ireland’s 60-point defeat to the All Blacks as ’embarrassing’.
O’Callaghan and his colleagues were beaten 66-28 in New Plymouth as they began their summer tour in the worst possible tour.
And with Irish rugby having been on a major high following their 2009 Grand Slam winning tour, O’Callaghan and the Irish public expected far better at the Yarrow Satdium.
“I am absolutely gutted,” said O’Callaghan, who was partnered by Mick O’Driscoll in the boilerhouse in the absence of Munster skipper Paul O’Connell.
”We spoke about getting respect down here but you have to earn it. There’s no way we did that and we were embarrassing.
“We rated ourselves as a handy team after winning the Grand Slam and to come down here and produce a performance like that is gutting.
“We came down here and we thought we could pit ourselves with the best but we got schooled.”
Ireland lost Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip to a 15th-minute red card that made their task nigh on impossible but O’Callaghan refused to blame the No8 for the manner of the defeat.
And while Ireland produced a gutsy second-half display having trailed 34-7 at the break, O’Callaghan could find no solace in any aspect of his side’s below-par performance.
“They were very good and we were very poor,” added O’Callaghan.
”People could use excuses and blame Jamie but it can also be an excuse for players to knock off. Maybe a few of the lads did that and they will have to answer that question themselves. Our defence and work-rate wasn’t good enough.
“It’s very easy to play well when you are 50 points behind and New Zealand had probably taken their foot off the gas. They probably weren’t as intense as they were.
“They really are the best team in the world. They are brilliant at the basics and they punish you for any mistake.
“They contest every ball, they are skilful and extremely clinical. You make the slightest mistake and the All Blacks will go the length of the field and score.
“You had a feeling that they could score when they wanted to and we got opened up time and time again.”
Next up for Ireland is a clash with the New Zealand Maori this coming Friday.