Losing like this is sickening : Ireland’s O’Driscoll

Ireland’s 25-22 defeat by Six Nations Grand Slam holders France at Lansdowne Road on Sunday was a bitter pill to swallow, said the hosts talismanic captain Brian O’Driscoll.

The 32-year-old – leading his country for the 73rd time – said that to score three tries to the French one and still end up losing was sickening but he and his team had made too many errors at crucial moments and paid for it – highlighting the five penalties that the French converted.

“Victory was there for us to take and we didn’t,” said O’Driscoll.

“It is a bitter pill to swallow.

“This is one that got away. We had a real chance to win three minutes from time. They were scrambling and I thought we could do to them what they did to us four years ago (Vincent Clerc’s last gasp try saw the French win in the dying seconds).

“But we coughed the ball up and the chance was gone.”

O’Driscoll, who scored the try that effectively got the Irish a woeful 13-11 win over Italy last weekend, said that the team needed to have more of a killer instinct when it came to matches of this level and intensity.

“We conceded a soft try (Maxime Medard’s in the second-half to give the French a 22-15 lead) but with 17 minutes on the clock remaining we felt we had enough capability to win,” said O’Driscoll, .

“But not being clinical is killing us. I may sound like a broken record but these errors are in our control and its difficult to take.

“The guys have got to go back and look at their performances and reflect on them.”

Ireland coach Declan Kidney concurred with his skipper and bemoaned the ill discipline that allowed the French at first to stay in touch and then to keep their score ticking over.

“It is an opportunity lost,” said Kidney, who guided Ireland to the Grand Slam two years ago, only their second ever in the tournament.

“We may have scored three tries to their one, though we may have got out of jail with the third one,” Jamie Heaslip benefiting from a hashed clearance by Jerome Thion after Ronan O’Gara had miskicked his grubber kick.

“But we can’t hide behind that positive statistic because there were way too many turnovers and too many penalties.

“We certainly gave them the ball more easily than they gave it to us.”

Kidney, who made his name as coach when he was in charge of Munster guiding them to two European Cups, refused to countenance changing his strategy of attacking rugby for a safer option.

“These errors from the Italy and French matches are uncharacteristic,” he said.

“But this level of rugby is a big step up from the Magners League and European Cup. This is the right way forward in terms of our strategy and there is no reason to go for damage limitation rugby as that won’t get us anywhere.”

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