Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll has been involved in some heavy defeats to France in the last 12 years but the agony of coming so close in yesterday’s clash left the centre visibly deflated afterwards.
“We had a chance, three minutes to go, down in their green zone, 10 yards from the line; they were scrambling and we coughed up the ball,” said O’Driscoll.
“We coughed up ball too easily. The big thing is that when we scored tries, we took them through a number of phases.
“When you turn it over after three or four it is so difficult to get any momentum. The chance was definitely there for us to take it and we didn’t. That is a bitter pill to swallow.”
O’Driscoll said players need to address their own displays and that changes are required when standards fall below what is expected of the side:
“Guys have to go back and look at their individual performances. You are going to have to up your game or be replaced. They’re the blunt facts of the matter. We have a very good squad and if you don’t produce performances, there is someone there. It’s about fronting up or the possibility of missing out.”
Irish coach Declan Kidney was also disappointed with the way his side left this game behind them:
“We know we had too many turnovers. We had three tries to one and we still lost the match. We’ll have to take a look at the penalties and see which ones are under our control. We need to get those things right. They (mistakes) are uncharacteristic but there is a big step up between Test rugby and Heineken Cup and Magners League level.
“What we need to do is to keep playing this way and get used to it at Test level because I believe it is the right way forward for us. There is no point in crawling away and trying to play a damage-limitation game; that won’t get us anywhere. It’s not going to win us anything at the end of the day. We need to get better at doing what we are doing.
“When you look at all the people who have paid to get in or staying at home, they are looking for us to get a win. An improved performance means that you are not in the doldrums but at the same time we want to win it and I think we would be hiding behind something if we were to do anything else”