O'Gara: We blew it
Ronan O'Gara has admitted Ireland "blew it" against Wales, but is determined that they push England's Grand Slam-chasers to the limit in this Saturday's mouthwatering Lansdowne Road clash.
"From the moment Jonathan Kaplan, the referee, consulted with the touch judge and then awarded the try, it was time to move on," says the player who started the tournament as a reserve and ends it on the shortlist of nominees for Player of the Championship.
"It's right that the IRB examine their protocol at quick line-outs, but you will never eliminate human error. Officials make mistakes and judgment calls, but so do we, the players.
"We have all been there. Bottom line, we had our chances to win that game and blew them. It's well behind us now and we want to bring something to the party again on Saturday.
"That 2009 Grand Slam seems a long time ago now and this is such a huge week for Ireland and the Irish. We need to be a part of it.
"If you cut the hype and look at it objectively, England still have plenty to do. They have an away fixture gainst opponents with a very handy record against them in recent years, six wins in the last seven matches.
"And England have only won once here this century."
Scrum-half Tomas O'Leary was ruled out yesterday after suffering a freak eye injury in training. The Munster ace was undergoing speed training with a sled when one of the straps failed, recoiled and struck him in the left eye. "This has caused a bleed within the eye which affected his vision," said an Ireland spokesman.
This means Eoin Reddan should start at scrum-half pending his recovery from a head injury with Peter Stringer also available.
Luke Fitzgerald, who has struggled under the high ball to date, could be left out of the team if coach Declan Kidney opts to swtich Keith Earls to full-back with Ulster's Andrew Trimble brought into the left wing slot.