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Match Quotes: Ireland 19 France 26

Match Quotes: Ireland 19 France 26

Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan consoled his side with the fact that “there is still a Triple Crown to fight for” in the aftermath of Saturday’s home Six Nations loss to France.

Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan consoled his side with the fact that “there is still a Triple Crown to fight for” in the aftermath of Saturday’s home Six Nations loss to France.

Ireland captain and try-scorer Brian O’Driscoll: “This is a setback and it’s going to be difficult to pick ourselves up for next Saturday. But at the same time we can’t beat ourselves up over a performance like that.

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“France were the better side and deserved to win. It shows the strength of this side that we’re hugely disappointed because the Grand Slam opportunity has got away from us.

“But we must get over that disappointment as quickly as possible and focus on the fact we can still win the Six Nations championship and back-to-back Triple Crowns.

“The Wales game is going to be keenly contested so we have to pick ourselves up for that. We must improve on our performance against France if we’re going to beat Wales.

“At half-time we felt we hadn’t played ourselves into the game. We knew we had an uphill battle ahead of us because we’d had the wind in our favour for the first half.

“We needed to hang onto the ball and take France through the phases, and we did that extremely well for parts of the game. But the nine-point half-time deficit was just too big.”

Ireland winger and 50-cap winner Denis Hickie: “You’re only one game in this tournament from going from a good season to a bad season and that’s the way it will be for us if we don’t do the business in Cardiff. In comparison to what’s been happening over the past few years, three wins is probably down the pecking order a bit.

“Irish rugby hasn’t come so far as to think you can get away with not playing well against France. I don’t think we played as well as we needed to in all areas of the game.

“If you look at every facet of our game, it wasn’t up to what it had to be to beat France, especially in the first half.”

Ireland prop Reggie Corrigan: “There’s still a Triple Crown and Championship to play for.

“We have to try to get that second Triple Crown in succession. Years ago Ireland would have been delighted to be at the stage where they might be going for a Triple Crown, whereas the fact that we are disappointed at the Grand Slam being a non-event now is a measure of how far the team has come.”

Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan: “France played particularly well in the first half – they were very strong and made us work hard. It was very frustrating, and they topped it off with two tries.

“A weaker team would have fallen away, but I think our second-half performance was excellent. When Brian scored under the posts there were still six or so minutes left, and the game was there.

“But this French team have won two Grand Slams in three years. They are a formidable outfit – and they deserved to win today.

“We could have won, but the margins are very tight at this level. The try (from Christophe Dominici) at the end was a real killer – we didn’t deserve that. There is still the Triple Crown though.

“The guys are feeling very down at the moment. But you just have to get on with it. We have to pick ourselves up, get back on the horse and start again next week.

France captain Fabien Pelous: “I’m very proud to have won 100 caps but I’m more pleased about beating Ireland. Lansdowne Road is a hard place to come and win, so it is a special result.”

France coach Bernard Laporte: “We’re very happy with the victory because it’s never easy to win at Lansdowne Road. The result is what we’ve been building towards since the beginning of the tournament. We have a new team with new young players.

“Our captain Fabien Pelous won his 100th cap – which we celebrated afterwards because it’s a magnificent achievement. But we are more pleased by Benoit Baby’s performance because it points to a bright future.”