Lee Byrne: I am so annoyed at being the sinner
Fifteen to one
Sunday 14 March 2010
I'm gutted. I let the boys down. I take responsibility for being sin-binned. Ireland scored 10 points when I was off the field. It was a key moment of the game. Yellow cards almost always are at this level.
I don't need to be told how costly they can be, particularly after what happened at Twickenham. The coaches have drummed into us the importance of keeping our discipline. I didn't. And I hold my hands up.
So what happened in the 25th minute? Well I was in the bottom of a ruck in their 22 and was on the wrong side. As they went to move the ball away I just caught the ball with my hand. It wasn't deliberate, but I'm not going to quibble. The referee had just issued us a warning. I shouldn't have been there.
I'm told my expression of disgust as I walked off was on television. I apologise if anyone saw it and was offended. What can I say? I was just so annoyed with myself. I wasn't rollocked after the game. No coaches or players told me off. I know what I did wrong. And anyway, we're in this together as a team.
I was also penalised in the second half for chucking the ball away when I had gone into touch in our 22. Ireland kicked three points because of it and after being camped on their line a minute or so earlier, we were now 13 points down. Another crucial stage.
I couldn't really understand the ref's decision, to be honest. What did he want me to do? Hand the ball over to the Irishman next to me so he could take a quick throw-in? I don't want to make excuses, but I did find it strange.
Moments like that seem to be happening to us in this Championship. We're not looking for sympathy but our Six Nations does seem to have been defined by little mistakes, the odd bounce, the odd decision. To be fair, Ireland were very clinical and deserved their triumph. Congratulations to Brian O'Driscoll on his 100th cap. What a player.
We need to regroup and focus on our last match. We have to beat Italy and at least finish such a disappointing campaign with a win. Hard work will get us back on track. We still believe in ourselves. I'm just sorry for the boys. Like I said, I let them down.
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