TOKYO, 19 Oct - When Ireland faced the heavily fancied New Zealand, their task was to keep the score tight for as long as they could, rock the All Blacks' confidence and snatch victory at the end.
It did not work out quite like that. After 22 minutes Ireland were 17-0 down and the game was all but done.
The killer blow for Ireland was Aaron Smith’s second try. It is caused by the initial movement of right-winger Sevu Reece. Reece, number 14 above with Smith, leaves his blindside wing at the scrum and heads infield. Jacob Stockdale cannot immediately follow him - if he left his wing then Ardie Savea could carry from the back of the scrum into a meadow of space.
Stockdale can hand over the responsibility of defending Reece to scrum-half Conor Murray, but Murray is also tied to the scrum until the ball is out. Scrum-halves can defend anywhere they want when the opposition has a scrum but most stay close to it so they can stop their opposite number from carrying.
The problem for Ireland is that Johnny Sexton cannot leave Richie Mo’unga to Murray. Murray has stayed by the scrum and if Sexton drifted away from Mo’unga the All Black would just run straight through the hole.
That means that the Irish defence are all defending one and a half attackers. Sexton is half-defending Mo’unga but is focusing on Anton Lienert-Brown, Robbie Henshaw is half-defending Lienert-Brown but is also focusing on Jack Goodhue.
Keith Earls is the unlucky last man in the defensive line: not only is he half-marking Goodhue, but he is also defending Beauden Barrett’s outside line and Reece’s loop. Three men are too many to mark and he makes the wrong call, biting on the Barrett run and ignoring Reece.
Reece gets on the outside of the defensive line and now needs to complete a high-pressure two-on-one to link-up with George Bridge on the outside. Earls redeems himself with a scrambling try-saving tackle on Bridge but the All Blacks are just 2m out against a broken Irish defence.
Stockdale takes a chance that he can catch Aaron Smith with the ball. He goes too soon and, had New Zealand not scored the try, he may have found himself with a yellow card for offside. Once Stockdale has stepped out of position, there is no blindside Irish defence and Smith just needs to bundle over the line.
The try all goes back to the initial movement of Reece. He contributed only one relatively straightforward pass to the move but his movement off the ball made it all possible. His loop forced all the Irish defenders to account for more than one attacker.
Trying to work out how Ireland should have defended this is very difficult using lots of angles and slow motion. Working out how to do it at 25kmh and then make a tackle on a powerful 100kg player is almost impossible.
There was still an hour to play but a lot of Irish supporters could already see the writing on the wall.