Brian O'Driscoll and Declan Kidney at the RBS 6 Nations launch

IT WAS doom and gloom all round from Ireland coach Declan Kidney and his skipper Brian O’Driscoll after their 25-22 defeat to France at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. Ireland came oh so close to stealing a win when they fought back from 25-15 down to trail by just three points. They were attacking deep inside the French 22 in the dying moments, but replacement hooker Sean Cronin lost the ball in contact as he charged towards the line and France hung on for a valuable win.
“There’s a couple of aspects that are going better but we just want to get results,” said Kidney, refusing to elaborate on any positives which came out of the match for his side.
O’Driscoll was equally disconsolate, saying: “We felt we had the capability to score a couple of tries and the second one was there, but we weren’t clinical and that’s what’s killing us. A few individual errors are the fine line between winning and losing Test matches.
“We all have to up our game or be replaced. That’s the bald fact of the matter. We have a good squad now and if you don’t front up there’s a chance of you missing out.”
Ireland had started the match so brightly, with Luke Fitzgerald having a try disallowed inside three minutes and Fergus McFadden crossing two minutes later for a try which Jonathan Sexton converted.
Morgan Parra and Sexton then exchanged penalties before a series of infringements, mostly at the breakdown, gave Parra another three penalty chances, all of which he slotted superbly to put France 12-10 up after half an hour.
Ireland were back in front before half time thanks to a try from Tomas O’Leary, which Sexton failed to convert but another Parra penalty, a try from Maxime Medard and a conversion and a penalty from Parra’s replacement, Dimitri Yachvili, put France 25-15 up after 62 minutes.
Ireland dragged themselves back into the game with a try from Jamie Heaslip, converted by Ronan O’Gara, but France held out at the death to seal the win.
Kidney promised to review the form of the players who are in his squad but outside his starting line-up during next weekend’s Magners League matches, but warned he would not make wholesale changes as a knee-jerk reaction to the loss. “There’s no point in crawling away now and playing a damage limitation game. We need to keep doing what we’re doing,” said the coach.