Ireland: Schmidt 'really happy' with win over Russia despite criticism of display

Jack Carty is tackled by Russia's Vasily Artemyev and Tagir Gadzhiev after replacing Johnny Sexton at half-time
Joe Schmidt denied that Ireland lost their way in Thursday's World Cup win over rugby minnows Russia

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt insisted he was "really happy" with his side's 35-0 World Cup win over Russia despite criticism of the performance.

Ex-England star Matt Dawson told BBC Radio 5 Live after Ireland's bonus-point win that they have "no chance" of beating New Zealand on current form.

The All Blacks are possible quarter-final opponents for the Irish.

"If you look at the stats, I am really happy with it [the display] and the team," said Schmidt.

The Ireland coach accepted that fans and pundits "will maybe have expected more of a performance" but he preferred to accentuate the positive in his post-match news conference.

"Yes there were a number of errors but we created a number of pressure points."

With three first-half tries in the bag, Ireland securing a bonus-point score appeared something of an inevitability after the break.

But it took them 22 minutes to secure the all-important score as Andrew Conway raced clear after good work from Keith Earls and replacement fly-half Jack Carty.

The game against Russia, ranked 20th in the world, was seen as an opportunity for Ireland to showcase their firepower in the aftermath of the shock loss to Japan.

"I don't think we lost our way, we just didn't convert some chances," said Schmidt of the game's third quarter.

"When you look back, there were some really good chances both in the first and second half.

"I felt our maul got going really well and we didn't get anything on the back of it a few times.

"We were in control of the game albeit not necessarily scoring."

Joe Schmidt said the decision to bring off Johnny Sexton at half-time was pre-planned
Sexton's grubber kick set up a first-half try for Peter O'Mahony

'Today we did a job' - Sexton

After the quick turnaround between their second and third games, Ireland now have nine days before their final group game against Samoa in Fukuoka.

If they can claim another bonus-point victory then their place in the last eight is assured, with two-time reigning champions New Zealand or South Africa set to be their quarter-final opponents.

While the starting line-up for any potential quarter-final is likely to be vastly different from the side that took to the field against Russia, the feeling is Ireland will have to drastically up their game to go beyond the quarter-finals for the first time.

"It's hard to say [where we are] after a game like that," said Johnny Sexton.

"After Scotland we we felt we were in a brilliant place, after Japan we were fairly low.

"Today we did a job."

Sexton, captaining the side from the start for the first time, was removed from the action at half-time, which Schmidt insisted after the game was a tactical move as opposed to an injury-enforced replacement.

For the latest rugby union news follow @bbcrugbyunion on Twitter.

Top Stories