Click here for match reaction from Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations clash between France and Ireland at the Stade de France.
…Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan applauds the French team off at the Stade de France…
IRELAND COACH EDDIE O’SULLIVAN: “We tried to play rugby. The French defended well in the first half. Other than the mistakes, which weren’t anything to do with tactics, we played well.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed with giving up six tries but we gave France five of them. They came directly from our errors. That certainly put us in a very difficult position but we battled back very well and played some good rugby.
“Errors like that happening now and again over the long term are acceptable, but in that game the errors we made would cover you for one season. You can’t plan for that. They just happen. It was important how we responded to those mistakes, and we didn’t panic or lose heart.”
“We hadn’t played particularly well in the first half when we made some crucial errors – twice from interceptions, one from a block down and another a spilled ball. It was just a question of going out and playing. Even at the start of the second half, we had an error which cost us and it was 43-3. I knew that once we held onto the ball and played some rugby we would do very well.”
“I would have been happier scoring the tries in the first half rather than the second – yes – but was there something wrong with the tries in the second half? I agree we threw some ball on the ground in the first half. Absolutely no problem with that.”
“(The difference) was we just held onto the ball (in the second half). The French struggled when we took them through phases, and we got the mis-matches we wanted. So the term ‘catch-up-rugby try’ is where I’m lost – it was just good rugby.”
FRANCE COACH BERNARD LAPORTE: “We managed to resist for 50 minutes but then it became very tough. When you’re up against top players like (Ronan) O’Gara, (Brian) O’Driscoll and (Gordon) D’Arcy, it’s difficult. Ireland also started to bring the forwards up on the inside and we had to endure the last 30 minutes of the game.”
“I’m not qualified to say why they (Ireland) are physically fitter than us. When we have the team together, we don’t relly do physical work, but Ireland are probably the one international team – on Europe or the world – that are most like a club in that they’re always together and doing training camps togerher.”
“I will help him (Frederic Michalak) and support him, unlike some of the public. I wish we could get more (rugby club) volunteers in the crowd (at the Stade de France) – they would be better at supporting France. I’d like to put those middle class s**ts on the pitch to see what they know about rugby.”
FRANCE MANAGER JO MASO: “We did crack a little bit and if there were another 10 minutes we would have been in trouble – but we won.”
“When Ireland were 43-3 behind their supporters began chanting, whereas when we were 43-10 up our supporters began to whistle when we missed touch. Our public need to learn to support the side or else I don’t know what we should do. Play behind closed doors perhaps?”
IRELAND CENTRE GORDON D’ARCY: “We played all the rugby today. We played high risk rugby in the first half but made mistakes which they capitalised on as good teams do.
“When you want to beat the best sides in the world, you can’t just sit back in the pocket and kick to the corners and play ten-man rugby. You have to go out and try and exploit any kind of weakness. We were trying to go after them wide and played high paced rugby. With that strategy comes mistakes. It was literally a game of two halves. The second half was how to do it and the first was how not to do it.”
IRELAND REPLACEMENT WINGER ANDREW TRIMBLE: “I was told to get into the game as soon as I could so I ran around as much as I could in the first few minutes, but the pace was flying and I struggled in those first few minutes.
“It (the ball) didn’t come my way at the start but eventually it came my way and I was under the sticks. It was a great feeling and making my 6 Nations debut away to France was even more special.
“I really enjoyed the last 20 minutes – that’s the sort of game we want to play and it showed what we are capable of.”
“When we were 40 points down, nobody really saw that we could get back into it but we showed what were capable of by the style of rugby we played in the last 20. The bounce of the ball just went our way in the final quarter.”