They may find themselves without a win so far but assistant coach Mike Catt reckons it is only a matter of time before it all clicks for Ireland in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations.
The 2018 Grand Slam winners are in unprecedented territory having gone down to Wales and France in their opening two fixtures of 2021, making it the first time they have started with back-to-back defeats in the Six Nations era.
And the worrying fact for the Men in Green has been that they have scored just two tries so far, despite having the lion’s share of possession in both of their matches.
But Catt, who has responsibility for the Irish attack, believes his side are beginning to click at the business end of the field, with decision-making the key.
“Every team wants to score four or five tries every game, to go out and express themselves,” four-time Championship winner Catt said.
“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but we believe the way we are going is the right way.
“We probably could have scored two or three more tries against Wales with 14 men with the opportunities we created, and against as France as well.
“Rugby is about the decisions you make, and we’re happy with what we’re creating.
“Then it’s about the final pass, the final decision, or putting ourselves in the right parts of the pitch to create pressure on the opposition. We didn’t do that well enough against France.”
Ireland will be looking to right the wrongs of the opening two rounds when they travel to Rome to face Italy this weekend, with both sides yet to taste success in the 2021 Championship.
There are no new injury concerns for Andy Farrell to contend with as a number of players returned from featuring in the Guinness PRO14 for their club sides during the rest week.
Attention can now focus to getting one over on the Azzurri at Stadio Olimpico – a place where they haven’t tasted defeat since 2013 – and getting the free-flowing rugby we have come accustomed to seeing from Ireland getting back into top gear.
You only have to look at the last time these two teams met for an example of that, as Ireland ran in seven tries in a 50-17 victory at the Aviva Stadium in October, with Hugo Keenan scoring a brace, and Catt is adamant that a return to those days is just around the corner.
“Look back at the (2020) Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup and we’ve scored some good tries. We’ve scored some exciting tries and the players have done exceptionally well,” the Ireland assistant coach said.
“The circumstances haven’t let us do it this campaign at the moment, but the focus this weekend is on getting a foothold in the game and doing what we’re good at.
“We’ve been disappointed in terms of the finishing and the players have got to get that right this weekend.”