O'Driscoll is proud but disappointed in defeat

New Zealand 22 Ireland 19

Wyn Griffiths
Saturday 16 June 2012 23:00
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The Ireland captain, Brian O'Driscoll, said his side had restored a large measure of pride despite suffering a last-minute defeat in Christchurch.

At 19-19 after 79 enthralling minutes, Dan Carter's drop-goal scraped over Ireland's bar. The Irish, however, were much improved from their 42-10 loss in the first Test.

O'Driscoll said: "We set standards and we're trying to be a consistent team. We dipped below those standards last week, individually and collectively. The jersey deserved a little bit more from us and we talked about that this week. Trying to restore a bit of that [pride] in the jersey. I think we did manage to do that. We fell at the final hurdle still."

O'Driscoll said it was hard to take solace from running the All Blacks so close. He said: "It is difficult when you have fought your way back into the game and got level on the board. They were a man down for the last seven or eight minutes. It is difficult to take any positives from the performance but I'm sure when we look back there will be plenty of them. We have another goal for next week. We have an opportunity to go to Hamilton and do what, essentially, we failed to do today."

The All Blacks' head 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 have, probably, played as good as they could have. We didn't play great."

Richie McCaw praised his All Blacks for maintaining belief in the gameplan in the final stages and said he had been "quite happy" when the referee, Nigel Owens, awarded a penalty from a contentious, wheeled scrum with eight minutes left. The captain 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 illegally."

Ireland's coach, Declan Kidney, praised the scrum-half Conor Murray, Ireland's try-scorer from close range in the first half. He said: "He had the confidence to play a bit more tonight. He showed that with the opportunity that he took."

Kidney said the centre Gordon D'Arcy had a tight calf that would be assessed tomorrow.

New Zealand: I Dagg; Z Guildford, C Smith, S B Williams, J Savea (B Smith, 73); D Carter, A Smith (P Weepu, 64); T Woodcock, A Hore, O Franks (B Franks, 57), B Retallick (A Williams, 64), S Whitelock, A Thomson (Retallick, 65-69), K Read (S Cane, 40), R McCaw (capt).

Ireland: R Kearney; F McFadden, B O'Driscoll (capt), G D'Arcy (R O'Gara, 51), A Trimble; J Sexton, C Murray (E Reddan, 64); C Healy, R Best, M Ross, D Tuohy (D O'Callaghan, 58), D Ryan, K McLaughlin (P O'Mahony, 61), J Heaslip, S O'Brien.

Referee: N Owens (Wales).

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