See below for quotes from Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan and Italy boss Pierre Berbizier in the aftermath of Saturday’s Six Nations clash between their sides at the Stadio Flaminio.
– ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP’S FINAL DAY –
“It was a tough day. We entered the match knowing we had to win and hopefully by enough to win the championship. The only thing is we didn’t know how much we had to win by.
“We just kept kicking on in the game and putting as much points on the board as we could.
“France did have a slight advantage in that they knew what they had to do to win the championship.
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles. I thought Scotland were going to do us a favour there, but it wasn’t to be because France scored right at the death.
“I don’t think you can start matches on the last day at the same time. You’re talking about moving thousands of people and TV times around and it’s not practical.
“You have to make a draw at the start of it and get on with it.
“I suppose when a tournament is going to be decided on points difference like this one has been for the last two seasons, there’s always a risk of this sort of thing happening.
“We all know that and can’t do anything about it. It’s the way the cookie crumbles. It didn’t go well for us today. I thought we were there but then we weren’t.
“Had France won by 40 points it would be a lot easier to swallow. It was great drama though.”
– ON THE DECISION TO RUN AN INJURY-TIME PENALTY –
“If we had known exactly what we needed, we could have kicked it into touch and killed the game.
“France knew what they needed to score in their game, but it’s difficult to make a decision when you don’t know what you need.
“We were trying to score more tries and besides, if we had gone out to protect our lead in the last half hour, we wouldn’t have ended up with eight tries – five in the second half – so I can’t complain.
“You always want to keep a clean slate and our defence had been generally good. But I would certainly have settled for this scoreline coming here because it’s not easy.”
– ON SEEING HIS SIDE SCORE EIGHT TRIES –
“We were accurate in our execution and we had to be to get the scores we got. Accuracy is essential and it’s a part of our game that we weren’t happy about at Murrayfield where we had opportunities but did not execute them.
“But our conversion rate from line breaks and openings today was much better.
“Before the game, we didn’t talk about a specific target in terms of the number of points. But we felt maybe if we got a couple of scores ahead, we could do well.
“A reasonable target in a Six Nations game is 20 points, but you have got to work hard to do that. We felt it was possible if we did things right, so this was pretty much where we wanted to be.
“I am very happy, because if you score 50 points and eight tries, you must be happy.”
– ON GORDON D’ARCY’S MAN OF THE MATCH DISPLAY –
“It was another top notch performance from Gordon. He is in the state, at the moment, where he is capable of breaking any line. He has tremendous strength on the ball and the capacity to beat people at close quarters.
“He seems to get better with every game and he is right up there at the moment in world rugby terms.
“I am delighted for him because he has worked hard to get there. It’s been a long time coming, but now he is right up there with the best.”
– ON BRIAN O’DRISCOLL’S HAMSTRING INJURY –
“Brian has a serious hamstring strain. We don’t know the extent of the damage but he’s in a lot of pain.
“He’ll have a scan (tomorrow) and we’ll see what the damage is, but it doesn’t look great at the moment.”
“I want to thank my team. My players have given everything until the end of the game. Unfortunately will doesn’t win you games.
“We simply have to compliment Ireland. In the first half we have had opportunities but it’s difficult to get back into the game when you are losing against them.
“Our strategy was to keep the ball, but two of the Irish tries in the first half came from our turnovers. You cannot afford that against a side of Ireland’s quality. We have to pay credit to the Ireland team for the way they played.”