Ireland 22-25 France, Six Nations, Lansdowne Road, February 13
O'Driscoll rues missed opportunity
February 13, 2011
Ireland's Fergus McFadden reacts to his side's defeat
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll was left to rue a missed opportunity in the wake of his side's agonising 25-22 defeat to France in their Six Nations clash in Dublin.
Tries from Fergus McFadden, Tomas O'Leary and Jamie Heaslip were not enough to prevent defending champions France from making it two wins from two in this year's Championship and set up a likely title decider with England in two week's time.
"We had a chance with three minutes to go. We were 10 yards from their line, they were scrambling but we coughed up another ball," said O'Driscoll. "I thought we were going to do to them what they did to us at Croke Park four years ago when they won in the last minute, but again we coughed up the ball too easily.
"When we scored our tries we had taken it through a number of phases, but when you turn it over after three or four it's hard to build momentum. The chance was there for us to take it but we didn't. That's a bitter enough pill to swallow.
"We felt like we had massive capability to score tries. The chances were there but we weren't clinical and that's what's killing us. There are just little things that need tweaking, but these are the fine lines between winning and losing Test matches."
Head coach Declan Kidney refused to take consolation from an ambitious and at times scintillating display undermined by the number of mistakes. "The feeling is that's an opportunity lost. We had too many turnovers," said Kidney. "We won the try-count 3-1 but still lost the match so we'll have to look again at the penalties to see which ones were under our control.
"We need to keep playing this way and get used to doing it at Test level. It is the right way forward for us. There's no point crawling away now and just trying to play a damage limitation game. That won't win us anything.
France's Sebastien Chabal reflects on his side's victory
"The try count is of no consolation to me. People have paid to get in and are looking for us to win. An improved performance means you're not in the doldrums, but at the same time we want to win."
France coach Marc Lievremont was pleased with his side's response each time Ireland ran in a try. "We're very satisfied with the outcome. In the last few minutes there were mistakes due to impatience and this made the match stressful," he said. "They managed to score tries and put us under pressure over 80 minutes.
"With more patience we'll learn to find solutions to these problems. I liked the way we bounced back. It could have been a totally disastrous match but we fought our way back. "Ireland could have won but overall we played well."
France captain Thierry Dusautoir revealed his pride adding, "We are really happy, it was really important to win. We did it, but it was very tough. I don't think it was the game of the year but it was very important to win.
"We stayed in the game and scored a lot of penalties but we scored just one try and the Irish scored three, that's why it stayed tight to the end of the game. I'm really proud of my team, it's never easy to play in Ireland."
Back-row colleague Imanol Harinordoquy added, "It was very hard to win here, there was a lot of pressure. In the end we could have won or lost. We had some luck, we are very very proud of this victory in Ireland - I think it's only the second time I have won here in 10 years."
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