O'Driscoll 'gutted' by defeat

 

Rugby:Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll could not hide his disappointment after his side suffered a last-minute defeat to New Zealand in Christchurch.

Ireland had raced into a 10-0 first-half lead, but relied on the boot of Jonathan Sexton to get them back on level terms in the second half. And, when New Zealand lost Israel Dagg to the sin bin with 72 minutes gone, Ireland looked strong favourites, only for Carter to have the last word and give his side an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

“I’m gutted all right,” O’Driscoll admitted. We got back on level terms and to concede the way we did is disappointing. Out performance was massively improved from last week and I’m very proud of the lads.

“We let ourselves down in the first Test and we spoke about that, we spoke about the jersey and concentrating on our own game, but the score-line still says an All Blacks win which is difficult to take considering the effort we put in.”

While O‘Driscoll was disappointed, New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw was relieved to get away with the win. He conceded his side had produced an error-strewn performance, though. “It was a typical old arm wrestle.

“We made mistakes, let them get momentum and that went against us. We gave the ball away but at the end we‘re happy to get away with a win. We didn‘t match Ireland how we wanted. We made mistakes and these guys make you play. We have got things to work on, but we recovered our composure, forced a mistake and got the win.”

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said: “We probably shouldn’t have won tonight but the composure we showed allowed us to do that. That is the sign of a good team.

“The big thing tonight is that we have beaten an Irish side that has, probably, played as good as they could have. We didn’t play great.”

Captain Richie McCaw praised his side for maintaining belief in the game-plan in the final stages. He added he was “quite happy” when referee Nigel Owens awarded his team a penalty from a contentious, wheeled scrum with eight minutes on the clock.

He said: “To be fair, Ireland had pressure on our scrum, but you’ve got to do it legally and, in the view of the referee, they did it (at that scrum) illegally.”

Ireland coach Declan Kidney refused to single out any of the string of decisions that went in New Zealand’s favour following Israel Dagg’s trip to the sin-bin.

He said: “We are just trying to work on what is under our control. We will have a look at it this week, but will only be focusing on what we can control.”

Kidney praised the performance of scrum-half Conor Murray, Ireland’s try-scorer, and insisted there was more to come from the 23-year-old. “He had the confidence to play a bit more tonight. He showed that with the opportunity that he took.

“(His selection) was a tight call and Eoin Reddan did well. We’ll just have to see how guys pull up during the week.” O’Driscoll’s midfield partnership with Gordon D’Arcy was responsible for shoring up the Irish backline.

D’Arcy came off with 20 minutes on the clock and Kidney revealed that the inside centre had a tight calf that will be assessed on Monday.