Rugby World Cup 2019: Joe Schmidt looks on the bright side despite scrappy win over Russia

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is focussing on the positives instead of the negatives after their scrappy 35-0 win over Russia at the Kobe Misaki Stadium on Thursday. 

Five days after their shock Pool A loss to hosts Japan, Ireland started fast, but struggled to put away Russia in humid conditions, taking more than an hour to secure the four-try bonus point. 

Schmidt noted how Scotland dispatched Samoa by a similar margin in the same ground on Monday, when he said he was happy with the performance, even if people may have expected more.

"I think there were more things that pleased me definitely," Schmidt told a news conference. "We started really well again and then we made a bit of hard work of it.

"I think one of our plans was to get a few scores early, because we knew it was going to get more and more difficult as time went one." 

"I don't think we lost our way, we just didn't convert some chances. In that third quarter, there was a little bit of frustration.

"At the same time, I'm pretty realistic about how tough conditions were out there. In this tournament, you can get what you need from each game.

"We still keep control of whatever outcome we get at the end of the pool."

Ireland need to beat Samoa to reach the last eight and can finish top of the pool, if Japan slip up, an outcome that would decide whether they face the All Blacks or Springboks in the quarter-finals.

Johnny Sexton, who looked sharp and fully fit in his return at first-five, said it was impossible to say how far away Ireland were from their best form.

"It's very hard to say, after a game like that," Sexton said. "After Scotland, we thought we were in a brilliant place, but after Japan, we were fairly low.

"Today, we did a job and we are very pleased to get the job done." 

After a tough 180 minutes in humid conditions that Schmidt admitted were foreign to his players, he hoped the weather would take a turn and more closely resemble what they are used to in the Northern Hemisphere.

"I have heard that it does start to cool off in October. It's October, so I'm hopeful that conditions will change a little bit and we won't have to adjust quite as much to them." 

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Reuters

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