O'Driscoll: We were well beaten
October 8, 2011
Earls crashed into the corner to give Ireland some hope © Getty Images
Ireland centre Brian O'Driscoll admits falling at the quarter-final hurdle is a crushing disappointment but concedes that they were beaten by the better side.
The Irish must wait at least another four years to make their debut in the semi-finals after they were outclassed 22-10 at Wellington Regional Stadium. It was a devastating way to conclude a World Cup that had promised so much and O'Driscoll admitted the knowledge it was his last appearance at the tournament amplified his own heartache.
"To a degree we failed to do ourselves justice, but we were never promised anything," said the 32-year-old captain. "Just because in the last four games we produced some good performances doesn't mean we were owed anything.
"You have to earn everything you get in Test rugby and today we were off the pace and we go home as a result of that. That's the bitter disappointment of it, but you have to suck it up when you haven't performed on the big stage.
"It's very disappointing collectively, while personally I won't get this opportunity again. That really sucks, but life goes on."
Ireland were well beaten, leaking tries to Shane Williams, Mike Phillips and Jonathan Davies in their most error-strewn performance of the tournament. Keith Earls crossed for Ireland while Ronan O'Gara kicked a penalty and conversion, but Wales were worthy winners who now face France in the semi-finals.
"We had high hopes going into the game and felt that we were in good form. We were just outplayed on the day," O`Driscoll added. "We made too many unforced errors and coughed up a lot of very soft tries.
"At the business end of World Cups you can't afford to play below par. We did that and paid the price."
O'Driscoll explained that Ireland declined three shots at goal in the first half because of a mixture of the blustery conditions and the desire to test Wales. "It's a tough one to negotiate. We felt that we could keep the pressure on and wanted to back our ability to drive over," he said. "That's what cost us a bit - we spent a lot of time down in their 22, but only came up with three points in the half.
"It hurts you when you have that many opportunities, knocking on the door without getting the points. But we got ourselves back in a position where we were level pegging and coughed up some very easy tries.
"You just can't afford to do that at this level and we shot ourselves in the foot." Ireland coach Declan Kidney was gracious in defeat and insisted his players will come again once they have come to terms with their failure in New Zealand.
"Wales outscored us on tries 3-1. We congratulate them and wish them well in the rest of the competition," said Kidney. "When you give your heart and soul to something but it doesn't work out, the atmosphere in the dressing room is one of quietness. They're all good men who will bounce back."
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