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The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - THE SCORE -

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.

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