Ronan O'Gara feels Ireland were unrecognisable in the heavy defeat to England on Saturday.
Joining us from La Rochelle, ROG shared his initial reaction to the 57-15 Rugby World Cup warm-up loss.
"It was a strange game in the sense that England looked exceptional but Ireland didn't look like Ireland," he said.
"That's probably the worrying thing. That normal fizz about them seemed to be lacking.
"The other side of it is you have to genuinely ask - and I'm not making excuses for the team - but where are they in their preparation?
"The people who are involved in terms of periodisation of training in terms of what volume of work has gone into their legs in the week of a test game.
"Normally there are two rugby sessions but this is still pre-season. It's four weeks before Scotland."
However, he also emphasised the need for the Irish players not to lose the confidence built over the last few years.
"What is most important is that they don't lose trust in each other. These players have achieved an awful lot together. But now it has come to a point where character is going to be absolutely crucial," he said.
"There's a massive emphasis on doing the simple things well and then you'd be surprised how quickly as the confidence evaporates from you, it can come back very quickly in genuinely very good players. So that's the optimism within me. I think the massive advantage this team has is it's happening now. As we know, once the World Cup starts, everything boils down to the Scottish game and getting momentum from that game."
Ronan O'Gara also backed captain Rory Best to bounce back from a poor showing at Twickenham. He also added that it would "rock the team more" if Best were to be dropped.
"It's very easy to pick out a 37-year-old. How many times has Federer been written off? He's been dead and buried and everyone comes back and thinks he's great," said ROG.
"[Best] has a chance to reply but he'd be the first to admit that he needs to up his game."
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