Monday 26 January 2015

'We bottled it. We weren't able to look each other in the eye afterwards'

Published 25/02/2013 | 04:00

Donncha O'Callaghan grits his teeth as he looks on from the sidelines after being substituted late in the game

Donncha O'Callaghan admitted Ireland felt "a bit ashamed" by yesterday's 12-8 Six Nations defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield.

O'Callaghan insisted the players should only look at themselves for an explanation of their latest implosion.

"This will dent our confidence and we must be honest with each other. It wasn't good enough by us. We're not at Test level to learn, but to win," the Munster lock said.

"You can look around at other people, but it's man-in-the-mirror time. No fingers are being pointed. That first win in Cardiff does feel like a long time ago.

"We bottled it. It is a scar that we will be carrying for a long time. I don't mean to be disrespectful of them, but we lost that match. We weren't able to look each other in the eye on the dressing-room afterwards.

"Playing for your country is special but you need to get results. You need that buzz, but this feeling is horrible.

"You feel like you've let everyone down and that's the worst part. You're a bit ashamed and that's the way the players were in the dressing-room."

Ireland dominated territory (71pc) and possession (77pc), while Scotland's tackle count was 128 to their 44, yet they still left Edinburgh with a chastening defeat.

"It's a hard defeat to take, a hugely disappointing one. We're gutted and feel a bit empty," O'Callaghan added.

Set-plays that form part and parcel of routine preparation were not up to a satisfactory standard and Ireland's failings served to highlight the position of the coach and coaching staff as well, of course, as that of the players.

Kidney, as ever, was his usual self in refusing to deliberate on his own future but he cut a dejected figure when poring over the remains of the performance.

"We won't make excuses, we all know that's not going to get us anywhere so we just need to work ahead and look how to finish off those opportunities we created," said Kidney.

"It's just frustrating. When you create the amount we created today and don't manage to finish it off, that's going to be frustrating for everybody involved."

If they haven't already, the IRFU are sure to begin looking around at possible candidates to fill the position if they decide against a reprieve for Kidney.

He is the most successful coach in Ireland's history but despite the absence of a clutch of first-choice players the performance against Scotland had few redeeming features and the price he ends up paying could be substantial.

Irish Independent

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