Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has a stern word for Ireland fans who believe their national side is floundering – insisting the Emerald Isle has never had it so good.
Declan Kidney’s men crashed out of the World Cup after a fiercely contested quarter-final with Wales but having gone into the match as favourites, Ireland were devastated by their premature home-coming.
The defeat signalled the end of a number of senior players’ World Cup careers as Ireland again failed to advance beyond the quarter-finals – but Schmidt, who guided Leinster to their second Heineken Cup victory in three years last season, believes all is not lost.
"I think Irish rugby has never been so successful,” he said.
“They qualified for the World Cup quarter-finals and had a game against a very good Wales team.
“They got to 10-10, absolutely nothing in it, and it could have led to a semi-final against France.
"Four out of the last six years the Heineken Cup has come to Ireland and I think 13 guys from the last World Cup came through and played this World Cup which means you have around 16 or 17 guys who have the ideal age profile to go on to the next World Cup for Ireland.
"Maybe I'm a 'glass half-full' sort of person, but I think that there's lots to be excited about in Irish rugby."