Gordon D’Arcy admits not scoring in the second half ‘killed us’
To throw away a 20-point lead is hard to take for Ireland’s inside centre
Gordon D’Arcy and Conor Murray take out All Black Aaron Cruden. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images
Gordon D’Arcy talked last Friday about becoming a leader. More because he has been around so long. He spoke about being someone who can do for Luke Marshall what Conor O’Shea and Kevin Maggs did for him way back when.
He spoke about not fearing Ma’a Nonu, about meeting the massive centre on New Zealand’s side of the gainline. Most of all D’Arcy spoke about his sporting mortality and living in the moment.
Forty eight hours later he went out onto the field and backed up every single word.
Only problem was Richie McCaw lived in the last few moments of this Test match better than anyone else.
Not known for his media dealings over the years, it was a surprise to see D’Arcy walk into the mixed zone Sunday evening. Further proof of accepting his position of seniority. The room was crying out for a man of his stature to come in and stare down the most devastating loss perhaps any player on the field has ever experienced.
‘Should have beaten’
“I don’t want to show up and lose by two points to the All Blacks, that’s not what I’m here for. I’m here to beat that team and we should have beaten that team but we didn’t and we have to pick ourselves up and we’ve got to take all the positives we can from it and build from it. We’ve got to take it on and use that as the base and really smash teams in the Six Nations.”
But Ireland under Joe Schmidt and the Paul O’Connell captaincy suddenly appear on the right road. “Paulie said it all week, we can all talk about dogged determination but I believed. I knew we could beat the All Blacks from Monday. We’ve been there before in those moments and have known that when you put them under pressure they make mistakes just like every other team.
“But we were just talking about believing how tough we are, we just have to take all that and we’ll meet up over Christmas and take all the positives from this game.”
‘Still threw away’
Would a draw to sit alongside the 10-10 at Lansdowne Road in 1973 have gone some way to easing the pain? “I don’t know. Probably not. We still threw away a 20-point lead. Not scoring in the second half killed us.
“I still think we were attacking, we were still going at them,” D’Arcy continued.
“Just maybe that little bit of accuracy when we were doing that zig-zag pattern (across the pitch) with two or three minutes left on the clock, that’s where we’ve just got to be that little bit smarter and play out games and finish out games.
“The best way to finish off a team is to keep attacking.
“We definitely didn’t stop playing. We went after them and you don’t expect the All Blacks to sit back and let you play at them in the second half, we knew when they were coming out they did crowd our space.
“But we definitely kept playing, we had the opportunity to go after them and had a couple of good runs up the touchline but they’re a great scrambling team. But we definitely played. We didn’t get as many scoring opportunities in the second half. I think that’s down to good play by the All Blacks and I think if we did persevere with the driving maul towards the end, that could have changed the outcome.”
We’ll never know.