Tomas O'Leary has demanded Ireland start realising their potential as they pick through the ruins of yet another failure against the All Blacks.
Any remaining shreds of self-belief that were evident in the Irish camp before the 22-3 defeat were swept away when New Zealand ran in their second try six minutes after half-time.
Graham Henry’s grand slam-chasing tourists hardly broke sweat as they continued their 103-year mastery of Ireland with a typically clinical display.
After three narrow defeats in their last three meetings, yesterday’s result felt like a step backwards for a side that genuinely fancied their chances of toppling the best in the world.
Argentina are the next assignment for Ireland, and O’Leary - who produced a solid full debut amid an evening of mediocrity - has warned a significant improvement is essential.
“I don’t think anyone could be satisfied with that performance,” said the Munster scrum-half, winning his second cap.
“We didn’t play any rugby and we have to learn what went wrong in time for Argentina, which has become a massive game now.
“I’m disappointed, because I felt like we prepared well against New Zealand.
“I definitely expected more from us - we’re capable of much better.
“That’s a positive for the future. But it’s no good talking about how we good we are or about potential. We need to produce.”
With the last batch of precious ranking points - before the World Cup draw is made - on the line against Argentina, Ireland can ill-afford to slip up at Croke Park next Saturday.
Scotland - who host Canada next weekend - are snapping at their heels at ninth in the table, with both teams having one match left.
The rankings determine the seedings for the 2011 World Cup, to be announced on December 1, and Ireland are desperate to avoid the type of perilous group that contributed to their misery last autumn.
Argentina sealed their demise in the final pool match, and Ireland must improve on yesterday’s error-strewn display if they are to prevail against the Pumas.