Joe Schmidt has warned Ireland to heed the World Cup “reality check” of Saturday’s comprehensive 32-20 Guinness Six Nations defeat to England.
Eddie Jones’ side became just the second Test team to put more than 30 points on Ireland in Dublin under head coach Schmidt, with a stunning four-try victory.
Henry Slade crossed twice, with Jonny May and Elliot Daly also grabbing tries, as England bullied the 2018 Grand Slam champions at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland boss Schmidt admitted his side was battered in every area, conceding that only a renewed grit will set Rory Best’s team back on track - especially with this autumn’s World Cup hurtling into view.
“That is a reality check about the physicality that will be required to be successful in this World Cup year,” said Schmidt.
“England collectively delivered a simmering physical intensity.
“It was a suffocating place to be out there. It’s a challenge to all our confidence.”
Fit-again England powerhouses Manu Tuilagi and Mako and Billy Vunipola savaged Ireland in the gainline battle.
Tuilagi’s special lineout move - receiving a direct long throw from hooker Jamie George in the 12 channel - stunned the hosts, who never recovered their poise.
Schmidt admitted Ireland were outmuscled in the same way as during their last home defeat, the 21-9 loss to New Zealand in November 2016.
Ireland’s record run of 12 home victories has come to an end, with the Kiwi boss frustrated, and honest, about his side’s shortcomings.
“It was very difficult to contain their forward momentum,” said Schmidt.
“It’s something that happened two years ago against the All Blacks.
“We got bullied here two years ago, and it happened again.
“You’ve got to be prepared to give as good as you get, and we didn’t do that tonight.
“We probably didn’t have the same physical edge that they did.
“We’ve got to make sure our solutions are that we get better pressure on the ball.
“We didn’t get a turnover on the ground tonight.
“There was quite a lot of volume with them stirring each other up and getting off the line.
“And they backed that up with a lot of physical intent.
“I think we were physically bettered. I don’t think I’ve seen a game where our opponents got so many physical, dominant tackles, where our opponents have carried physically in the manner that they did.”