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O'Driscoll still sore over World Cup exit

The Ireland captain says he tries not to dwell on how Ireland’s participation in September’s tournament came to a premature end.

O'Driscoll during the World Cup quarter-final defeat to Wales.
O'Driscoll during the World Cup quarter-final defeat to Wales.
Image: Barry Aldworth/Sports Inc/Press Association Images

TWO MONTHS ON, Brian O’Driscoll finds it hard to reflect on Ireland’s World Cup exit and has classed it a “massive missed opportunity”.

After a series of below-par performances in the run-up to the tournament in New Zealand, an historic 15-6 win over Australia had allowed them to top Pool C.

However, Declan Kidney’s side went out to Wales at the quarter-final stage and the Leinster centre knows that, with France awaiting in the semis, Ireland may never get a better chance to reach a rugby World Cup final.

“I look back on it as a massive missed opportunity,” he said, speaking on Tom Dunne’s radio programme.

“I don’t really allow myself to think about it too much because I don’t know when an Irish team will have such a route to the final again.”

Wales were themselves eliminated in the next round, losing 8-9 to eventual runners-up France, and it is no surprise that O’Driscoll prefers not to dwell on what might have been.

“I think they (Wales) peaked and played their best against us and that’s it. It was a huge anti-climax because during the group stage we got ourselves in a good place to really push hard,” he added.

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“When you play in a semi-final all bets are off. It doesn’t matter about form, it’s just about the teams that turn up and unfortunately we didn’t get to taste that.

“But all credit to Wales for performing the way they did. They probably should have been finalists themselves.”

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Ben Blake

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