O'Connor: 'Just like every other kick'
October 30, 2010
James O'Connor converted his own try to win the game © Getty Images
Australia wing James O'Connor has played down the significance of his last-gasp winning conversion against New Zealand, insisting that it was 'just like every other kick'.
O'Connor stepped up to convert his own try and end a 10-match losing run against the All Blacks after Matt Giteau and Kurtley Beale had spurned several chances with the boot.
The Wallabies hit back from 24-12 down to overhaul the All Blacks' lead, with winger Drew Mitchell, centre Adam Ashley-Cooper and fly-half Quade Cooper also scoring tries.
"To be honest, I've tried to put myself in that situation a lot in training," he said. "Robbie [Deans, coach] has said plenty of times 'this is the last kick to win the game' and I think that's the only one I've hit, so I'm pretty happy about it.
"The team were all pumping me up, giving me the confidence. I'd done all the training I needed, I just went through my motions, my little triggers I've been working on, and it was just like every other kick.
"I blocked everything out in my head and just focused on the kick. When I looked up I was happy enough to see it go through the posts."
Deans was thrilled with his side's showing in the dying stages, an area in which they struggled during the Tri-Nations.
"That's the nature of rugby," he said. "What we got was a good response in the last 20 minutes, which is an area that we've been battling with and we made some progress tonight, so that was great.
"The boys persevered, there were occasions there where they could've dropped their heads but credit to Rocky and the decision makers for their relentlessness. It was great to see the response of the team. The boys kept probing and working hard and trying to find a way in, particularly on the outside edges where the Kiwis have profited of late.
"The work rate of the backs was great, they were looking not only for a way in but they were prepared to work for it and they showed a bit of patience as well and that was the point of difference."
New Zealand captain Richie McCaw felt too many individual errors ultimately cost his side the victory and also their shot at a world record run of Test victories.
"We were under pressure, we had a chance to clear our line and we didn't do that, we gave them the ball back in a good attacking position," he said. "The guys were trying pretty hard, scrambling on defence and I guess it sometimes comes down to one turnover or not and they got the try at the end, which was pretty disappointing.
"I think when we reflect on the game, there were a few mistakes we were guilty of. When were up by 12 or so points we had a chance to close out the game but we allowed them back into it. They also played well to do that.
"The disappointing thing was the way we started. They forced us into mistakes and we were 12 points down. We got ourselves into a position where we were on top in the game but the Aussies were desperate, we made a couple of mistakes and they got back into it, which good teams will do. A few of us made mistakes out there that in Test rugby, you can't really afford to make because that can sometimes be the difference."
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