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Player reaction: it came down to two mistakes, admits Paul O'Connell

“We’d put ourselves in a great position but there was a bit of work left to do and we didn’t do it.”

 Ireland's Paul O'Connell collides with Wales' Toby Faletau.
Ireland's Paul O'Connell collides with Wales' Toby Faletau.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

IRELAND’S SKIPPER PAUL O’Connell admits there’s lots for Ireland to work on before next Saturday night’s daunting trip to Paris.

Tries from Rory Best and Tommy Bowe had seen the Irish assume a commanding lead, but a superb effort from George North and Leigh Halfpenny’s late penalty proved the home side’s undoing.

“We’d put ourselves in a great position but there was a bit of work left to do and we didn’t do it,” O’Connell said on BBC1. ”There were two mistakes by us towards the end, a missed tackle and a penalty, and that’s what it came down to.”

Leigh Halfpenny was the man who ultimately won the game after an dramatic afternoon in Dublin 4.

His late, late kick meant there was no revenge for the home side for the defeat at the Rugby World Cup in Wellington.

“It was the hardest kick I’ve had to take in all my life,” Halfpenny said. ”As soon as it went over the emotion came – having to deal with the miss against France in the World Cup, putting that over makes it all worthwhile.”

As for the game itself, Halfpenny added on BBC1: “It was end to end stuff, an exciting game. It was a tough test and all credit to Ireland, they really gave us a tough game.

“The score was back and forth and I’m just really pleased to get the result for the rest of the campaign.”

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