Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Chin Up

O'Connell left looking towards Scotland after giving 'a leg up' to Wales

The centurion and captain bemoaned the early glut of penalties conceded as a crucial part of Ireland’s loss.

PAUL O’CONNELL SAID Ireland’s early penalty count gave the opposition ‘a leg up’ towards victory in today’s 23 – 16 loss to Wales.

Ireland’s 10-game winning streak was ended in dramatic fashion as the hosts in Cardiff withstood extended spells of intense Irish pressure during the second half.

“We probably needed to score in that big period [of pressure] when we were down in their green zone,” the Ireland captain told RTE.

“It would have continued the momentum we had been building, but they held out. It gave them a massive lift and they got the crack at us in our 22, they scored.”

Ireland found themselves in a hole after 15 minutes as they slipped to a 12 – 0 deficit thanks to Leigh Halfpenny’s excellent kicking off the tee. As much as the period which Ireland failed to convert pressure, that early glut of penalties conceded was the reason the Grand Slam and Triple Crown are now out of reach this year.

The discipline at the start of the game was disappointing. It was a replica of the England game, but the other way around. Two weeks ago we gave them a leg up, this week we probably gave them a leg up.”

“We gave ourselves a lot of work to do early in the game. With the penalties we gave away and the referee’s interpretation. So it was a long way to come back, but we did, we gave ourselves a chance to win the game, but we just didn’t do that.

“We had a lot of phases and they held out, it’s testament to them as a team and their defence.”

“The Scotland game is the big focus now and we still have a crack at the Championship.”

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