Sunday 26 March 2017

'They did go over the edge, a lot of teams do it - I've done it myself': Paul O'Connell on Ireland v All Blacks

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Paul O'Connell has weighed in on Ireland's controversial loss to the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium last weekend, saying that in his opinion, the world champions 'did go over the edge'.

The encounter was highly physical from the opening kick off, with two challenges in particular - by All Blacks Sam Cane and Malakai Fekitoa - generating a lot of debate in the aftermath.

Fekitoa was yellow carded and subsequently banned for one week while Cane got off with just a penalty during the game before getting cleared of any wrongdoing by the citing commissioner.

Speaking to the Second Captains podcast, Ireland legend O'Connell said that while he doesn't think the heavy challenges were a premeditated attempt to attack Irish players, Fekitoa and Cane should have been shown a red and yellow card respectively.

He also pointed to some incidents that New Zealanders can feel aggrieved about - Johnny Sexton's tackle on Beauden Barrett and Andrew Trimble's knock on - while also suggesting that the pressure to perform caused some All Blacks to 'go over the edge'.

"They were under a bit of pressure and they did go over the edge," O'Connell told host Eoin McDevitt.

"A lot of teams do it. I suppose it shows that the pressure gets to everyone. They really needed to win and they really wanted to win, and in trying to do that they went over the edge. I've been part of teams that have done it before and I've done it myself before.

"It just goes to show that they're human."

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