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Irish Post-Match Reaction

Irish Post-Match Reaction

See below for quotes from the Irish players and management in the aftermath of Saturday’s four-try defeat of England at Croke Park.


“We had to get our head around the defeat (to France) and we were of the singular opinion that this was our last game until next year here at Croke Park and it was important to leave with a win.

“The English media calling us chokers after that game also provided motivation, if we needed any more.

“We’re back in the championship and still in with a shout at a Triple Crown.

“I thought it was a very good performance. The conditions were very difficult.

“We could easily have gone into our shell and started playing aerial ping pong because it was so wet but we stuck to our gameplan.

“The first 10 or 15 minutes were shadow boxing but once we took control we were pretty ruthless.

“As expected England had their purple patch and got a good try. They asked questions of us and we responded in the way I expected us to.

“I thought it would be closer, particularly in weather like that. England weren’t bad, it was more we were good.

“They tried to play but we were clinical and ruthless. I suppose that was our best performance against a Six Nations team. To score 40 points in those conditions is pretty good going.

“I was surprised that we won by that margin (30 points), but we managed to score two tries when (Danny) Grewcock was in the sin-bin. It was a controlled performance all round. The Six Nations is an intense competition, but that was a pretty complete performance over 80 minutes.”


“We wanted to do the occasion justice. Two weeks ago we didn’t, but we did today.

“We played clever rugby for most of the match. We had a bad period at the start of the second half, which woke us up, but we dominated the rest of the half.

“We are all working our socks off in the pack at the moment and the harder you work, the easier it is to find your form.”


“We want show we could bounce back after being disappointed like we were against France.

“We let ourselves down against France by not playing for the full 80 minutes. We felt as though we needed to repay the GAA with a great performance and victory.

“We didn’t do that against France which left us with just the one match to do it.

“That was one of the most complete performances I’ve been involved in.”

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“Rog (Ronan O’Gara) kicked a beautiful ball across, landed it on a six pence (for the try). It was something we’ve been working on in training and it is really nice when something like that comes off. It wasn’t that high, the trajectory was quite low which makes for an easy catch but a lot of the credit must go to him.

‘Some of the guys inside me were screaming for the ball, so it was very nice of him to kick it to me!

“I was just happy to be playing on the wing, happy to be in the side, happy when everyone is there, and that was important for us. Brian (O’Driscoll) came back in – he’s phenomenal, not just from a leadership point of view but as an individual.

“We’re so lucky, so privileged, to have him. He was brilliant, a real leader on the field, he’s the man who calls for the ball and wants to play the game the correct way.”


“For me, every time I line out for Ireland, no matter where it is, when you listen to your anthem, it’s a very special moment and you’re very lucky to get it. Very few people are privileged enough to actually be on the field listening to Amhrán na bhFiann and today was absolutely fantastic. First there was the respect shown for God Save the Queen, then Amhrán na bhFiann was absolutely boomed out.

“I can”t imagine how the English must have felt, listening to that.

“Croke Park’s different to any stadium I’ve ever played in, and I’ve been in some really big ones, some really daunting ones. When a guy five or six metres away from you can’t hear you when you’re making a call, when President McAleese came out and the roar that went around – it sends tingles down your back, right down your legs. I knew something special was going to happen.

“We played very, very smart rugby, gave ourselves options to play up the middle, play wide, or kick the ball.

“We gave ourselves three options, where on other occasions we had only one or maybe two. People knew where they were supposed to be, what they were supposed to do. We were in control of the game for about 70 minutes, apart from a brief period when they got their try early in the second half.

“To come back from tha score, keep them in their half pretty much for the rest of the game, was a great mental achievement for the team. I think we made a lot of people very happy and proud.”


“There was such a big build-up for England and we couldn’t get away from it. Every time we turned on the TV or looked at a newspaper all the coverage was there.

“That put us under a bit of pressure but we coped a lot better than we did against France. It was very emotional and a few of the boys had tears in their eyes during the anthem.

“The France match gave us experience and we got the start we wanted, taking the game by the scruff of the neck and imposing ourselves.

“We were very disappointed with our individual displays against the French. Collectively we wanted to roll up the sleeves – especially in the pack – and get on top of England.

“Our scrum was very good, our line-out was very good and our general forward play and work at the breakdown was very good.

“That was the kind of display we’ve been looking to put in for a long, long time. It has been coming for a while and it just happened to be against England.

“The France defeat hurt us a lot so we were really up for it against England.

“We need to get more consistency. If we’d put in that performance against England after beating France the game before than I would have said we need to be taken seriously as World Cup contenders.

“The way the World Cup goes you can’t afford to slip up and unless we learn the lessons of that France game we can’t be considered as contenders.

“But if play like we did against England on a consistent basis, then we’ll be up there.

“This win makes the France result harder to take. We know what we’re capable of and we didn’t play well against them.”