Brian O’Driscoll had a familiar feeling following Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks, although dealing with his shivering body was more of a concern. Cold and soaked after the 21-11 loss, the Ireland captain was left rueing the concession of 10 crucial points around the hour mark.
Dunedin (2002), Hamilton and Auckland (both 2006). Now Wellington 2008. It was another case of ‘so near and yet so far’ for Ireland as their losing run against the All Blacks continued.
Dealing with the arduous match conditions – a bitter southerly wind added to the constant rain showers – proved almost as difficult for Brian O’Driscoll and his team-mates as keeping the Kiwis in check was.
Back in the relative warmth of the post-match press conference, O’Driscoll said: “They were horrible conditions to play a Test match but sometimes you get them and it’s disappointing to push it as hard as we did, with the intensity we had, and to slip up at once at that line break and be punished.”
The Irish skipper was referring to Dan Carter’s midfield surge which led to Ma’a Nonu’s match-winning try in the 64th-minute.
Having led Ireland to battling defeats on the 2006 tour to New Zealand – 11 and 10 points were the margins back then – Saturday’s deficit was familiarly frustrating.
“As much as we fought to the death, it’s hugely disappointing to come so close again…but we don’t seem to be able to finish these games,” O’Driscoll conceded.
“In a game like that, one line break is the difference. We were three points down at that stage (before Nonu’s try) so conceding a seven-pointer – it essentially killed the game off.”
Together with his new centre partner Paddy Wallace, O’Driscoll did not see much of the ball during an attritional second half but that had as much to do with Ireland’s ‘playing of the weather conditions’ as the All Blacks’ turnover rate.
“It was a liability having the ball at times, it’s not often you play games like that. It turned into a bit of a kicking game and trying to chase after it.”