“Apart from the boot, the lineout maul was Ireland’s most effective means of go-forward ball and asked some serious questions of the French forwards. ” says Gerry Thornley in The Irish Times
“Eddie O’Sullivan was possibly right when suggesting that when trailing 28-10 entering the final quarter, at that juncture previous Irish treks to Paris would have ended in a rout.
“But it was surely stretching things to suggest that the winning margin of 18 points flattered the French, that they took the only four chances that came their way, and by highlighting the Ronan O’Gara crosskick which eluded Anthony Horgan late on, stating that a final count of four tries to three would have given a more accurate reflection of the match.” – Gerry Thornley, The Irish Times.
“There were no smiles on the Irish bus as it pulled away from the Stade de France. They got pretty much as they deserved.” – Brendan Fanning, The Sunday Independent.
“Ireland were flattered to go down by only 18 points in Paris. From the opening whistle there was only one plan; to keep the score down and hope for a lucky victory.” – George Hook.
“Ireland made a serious strategic error in the opening match of the Six Nations. They forgot they had a pack capable of putting the squeeze on the French and a backline
that didn’t have too much of a prayer of running the French off their feet. As a result their tactical plan was quite simply too ambitious.” – Jeremy Guscott.
“Had he (Galthie) been there, you sensed that France would have not taken anything like as long to put clear water between themselves and the disappointing Irish.” – Peter Bills, The Sunday Independent.
“The Irish pack gave as good as they got, excelling in the line-out and just about hanging on in the tight against a scrummage probably ranking second only to Argentina in world terms. Even better, Ireland showed extraordinary strength and expertise in the rolling maul and if anything seriously underplayed their hand in that department.” – Brendan Gallagher, The Telegraph.
“For all their commitment and honesty of effort Ireland just weren’t good enough.” – Charle Mulqueen, The Irish Examiner.
“Ireland played well in the circumstances. Deprived strike runners like Hickie, O’Driscoll and Murphy their game-plan sided with commonsense. The pack actually had a splendid day but circumstances behind the scrum dictated that Ronan O’Gara played primarily for field position.” – Vincent Hogan, The Irish Independent.
“I’m quite happy with what happened out there. Ireland are always a difficult side to play against and that was no different today. They’re very aggressive, good in the line-outs and I felt that O’Gara had a great kicking game for them.” – Bernard Laporte.
“Ireland, led by the enormously aggressive Paul O’Connell, worked their socks off and dragged themselves back into the game in the second half even scoring two tries.” – Peter O’Reilly, The Sunday Tribune.
“They (Ireland) began well and sucked the excitement right out of the home crowd by pinning France into their own 22 for the first quarter. They lost it a little in the second, a lot in the third, then finished strongly. They never looked like winning, but the visitors – their forwards in particular – were combative from start to finish despite coming here crippled with injuries to their three key playmakers, Denis Hickie, Brian O’Driscoll and Geordan Murphy.” – Tom English, The Sunday Times.
“Ireland came to Paris without a game-breaker in their squad; Keith Wood, Brian O’Driscoll, Geordan Murphy, Denis Hickie all absent. The pack competed fiercely and Ronan O’Gara did really well at fly-half but this wasn’t a team equipped to hurt France and indefinite containment wasn’t an option either.” – Denis Walsh, The Sunday Times.
“Bereft of all their backline speed merchants, Ireland’s most potent attacking weapons were the rolling maul and Ronan O’Gara’s boot, which meant that for all that they enjoyed much of the ball and most of the territory in the second half, they merely battered the blue wall with limited reward.” – William Fotheringham, The Guardian.
“Ireland’s Call, the anthem of the IRFU, is slow, repetitive and defiant: just as we were on Saturday. We did not have the speed to do any damage and never worried our opponents in this area. There was never the likelihood of a try from far out. We had very little variation and tended to rely on the same repertoire, principally the driven lineout.
“We were defiant, however, and to the players’ credit they never gave up right to the final whistle.” – Donal Spring.