Luke McGrath insists that Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final sticking point will not taint departing head coach Joe Schmidt’s legacy.
Leinster scrum-half McGrath was left with little choice but to salute champions New Zealand’s sheer brilliance.
Ireland slumped out at the quarter-final stage for the seventh time in nine tournaments, suffering a record loss to Steve Hansen’s merciless All Blacks.
Captain Rory Best retired as a result of the defeat, with boss Schmidt stepping down as long since planned.
Schmidt led Ireland to a maiden stint at the top of the world rankings, their first two victories over New Zealand and three Six Nations titles, including the 2018 Grand Slam.
The former Clermont and Leinster boss could not break Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final curse though and, while that shortcoming will always rankle, McGrath is adamant it will not leave a lasting shadow for the 54-year-old.