Autumn Nations Cup: James Ryan urges patience among Ireland fans after defeats

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A dejected James Ryan leads the Ireland team off at Twickenham after the defeat by England
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Sunday 29 November Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio Ulster and the BBC Sport website

Stand-in Ireland captain James Ryan says there is no reason to panic after recent defeats by France and England.

With Johnny Sexton injured the second row will skipper the side again when they host Georgia in their final Autumn Nations Cup pool match on Sunday.

Ryan’s first outing as captain resulted in an 18-7 defeat by England last week.

“If you look at the game, we gave England most of their points – I don’t think we’re very far away from a couple of the world’s top teams,” he said.

Ireland lost 35-27 in Paris last month in their final Six Nations match, dashing their hopes of the title.

Supporters were hoping for a revival under head coach Andy Farrell after a disappointing end to the successful tenure of Joe Schmidt.

Mixed fortunes

Saturday’s defeat at Twickenham came after a 32-9 win against Wales in Dublin in their tournament opener.

Ryan, who has been considered a potential long-term captain since skippering the U20s side to the 2016 World Championship final, believes Ireland have been their own worst enemy.

“I do not know if I can put a percentage on the difference between where we are and England and France are at the moment,” he added.

“We are a relatively inexperienced side compared to those guys in the England side who have been together for a long time on the whole.

“I thought the lads fronted up defensively and kept working hard for each other and our physicality was impressive.

“We can take a lot from that and just be a bit smarter in our next match – make sure in our next two games we finish on a high note and take that into the Six Nations.

“We need to fix the set piece, which is so important at this level. A bit more variety in our play at times would be good and that we are calmer when we get into the 22 and see the bigger picture.”

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