Ulster centre Andrew Trimble has backed Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan by claiming the players and not the management are to blame for their poor performance against England.
England's comfortable 33-10 victory at Twickenham in the RBS 6 Nations on Saturday was due in part to Ireland’s inability to execute the basic skills of the game.
“The players are behind Eddie 100%. Everyone's criticising Eddie, but it's not his fault we dropped balls against England,” he said.
“We had the correct gameplan for England - but whenever it looked like we were going to score a try or come close, we knocked the ball on.
“That's the players' fault, and we should be taking the responsibility for what has been happening.”
Ireland made a stunning start at Twickenham, with Rob Kearney's fourth-minute try and the kicking of Ronan O'Gara establishing a 10-0 lead inside the opening seven minutes.
But while they continued to see plenty of possession and created some reasonable chances, they blundered at key moments - while England, superbly marshalled by Danny Cipriani, were ruthless.
Confidence has clearly deserted Ireland's players, and O'Gara admits his side's shortcomings are currently psychological.
“There was a long break after the World Cup, and we came into the Six Nations full of optimism,” he recalled.
“We saw the win over Scotland as a new start for us, but the defeat by Wales was disappointing. Maybe we need to believe in ourselves more as players.”