Scrum Half John Cooney believes the seeds of Ireland’s Six Nations defeat by England were sown during the manic start to the game at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland were rocked by the tempo set by England at the opening two moments as Jonny May scored a try.
The holders recovered to temporarily consider the lead but couldn’t fit power and England’s pace within the 80 minutes.
“If you don’t start well and also you’re down seven points after one minute and a half it’s not ideal,” said Cooney.
“I think which may probably be one of those emphasises in practice, to start well, because it creates a huge difference when you’ve got tempo and momentum in the beginning.”
Head coach Joe Schmidt confessed his side had reduced the cost for a sluggish start as Ireland slumped at home through the six seasons in charge of the New Zealander.
The world number two negative survived an opening-round loss in last year’s tournament when Johnny Sexton’s injury-time drop-goal rescued a win over France in Paris and now Schmidt has warned that Ireland must learn to get into their stride instantly.
“Looking farther ahead into the World Cup, we’ve got to reach the floor running,” explained Schmidt.
“In November, Argentina wasn’t great but we stepped it up the next week (against New Zealand). We built our way through the competition and last year in the Six Nations we weren’t great against France and ended it off quite strongly.
“We’ve tended in order to complete Six Nations off pretty strongly, the Six Nations that we won in France or in Scotland, but we’ve got the able to start better right from the start.”
Cooney’s Six Nations debut proved to be a moment for its Ulster scrum half, who watched Ireland’s late consolation try within a few minutes of his debut.
The 28-year-old replaced the tiring Conor Murray and cross the lineup for his original Ireland try and a few minutes later he found himself in the position to simply accept the pass of Sean Cronin.
“It would have meant too much to my family as well,” he acknowledged.
“I would have grown up watching the Six Nations and they truly are the huge games or even the big moments therefore that I was pretty emotional on the bus heading to the game and arriving towards the ending I did not know if I was really going to access it so it was nice to get those few minutes.
“However, there was no pressure on me so it was easy in the future on in those type of matches when you’re losing, it’s different when you’re coming on in a tight game or you’re starting a game therefore I am expecting to get some of those evaluations punctually .”
He’s struggled to secure his place in the squad because of injuries and competition for places behind Murray, who remains Ireland although the prior Leinster and Connacht player left his debut for Ireland in June 2017.
“I was smiling throughout the anthems because during those hard times when I was wounded it was always some thing that I had envisaged and I knew I would arrive at,” added Cooney.
“So for me it was pretty emotional because once you set a huge goal and you’re hurt and you’re nowhere near it I was third or fourth choice at the time – that I always felt that I could get there.”
Scotland will be about a top
This week’s suit against Scotland will also be of relevance and many of his family still reside in the region.
Scotland would be the early leaders in this year’s championship after their bonus-point victory against Italy from Edinburgh and Gregor Townsend’s negative will again have home advantage in around two.
“It’s a big one afterward to go to Murrayfield once they won against Italy therefore that they’ll certainly be on a higher now and they have two home matches so that it’s very important to them,” said Cooney.
“it mayn’t be considered a bigger game for us to go away and really work well and that’s a struggle but there would be no better place to go and get a win.”