O'Connell: We wanted to play
February 12, 2012
Paul O'Connell is adamant that his side wanted to play France © Getty Images
Referee Dave Pearson called off the match between France and Ireland moments before the 20.00 GMT kick-off with the stadium already nearly full of supporters. And Ireland skipper O'Connell has claimed that his side were preparing to take to the field only to be told by Pearson that the game was off.
"I was kind of aware that there was a patch on the pitch that wasn't in the best of condition," O'Connell said. "During the warm-up once or twice I caught a glimpse of Declan [Kidney] and a few officials down there.
"But I was still fairly sure it was going to go ahead. We'd prepared that way - everyone else was preparing that way. Sometimes you say you're preparing but you kind of know it's not going ahead.
"We were fairly sure that it was going to go ahead and I'd say it was 30, 60 seconds before we went out that Dave [Pearson], the ref, came in and said it's not going to go ahead."
Ireland took to the field once the game had been postponed to try and run off some of their energy with a game of touch and O'Connell has admitted that he felt sorry for the supporters who had travelled to Paris. "Guys were pumped up and they just wanted to do a little bit of fitness," explained O'Connell. "Unfortunately the crowd then kind of gathered and they asked us to leave because they thought if we left, the crowd might leave.
"We only ended up getting half a session done so that's just the way it was - a bizarre end to a strange day,"
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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