Trimble rues 'one that got away' despite proving class to Kidney
While Andrew Trimble franked his chances of automatic selection for Declan Kidney's World Cup squad, any personal pride was over-shadowed by the gnawing sensation of self-imposed defeat.
"It's one that got away," he sighed. "Declan summed it up already. We lost it instead of them winning it."
As he had witnessed at first-hand at Murrayfield against limited opposition last week, a recidivist tendency to cough up easy possession would cost his side dear. In this part of the rugby world, the costs of such profligacy are disproportionately high.
"They came out of the blocks fairly quickly and we knew they were going to do that," Trimble said.
"It was hard to get into the game, although we gradually did get a foothold and there was one stage when it seemed likely we could be in the ascendancy, but we never quite got there. And then they bounced back towards the end so it was pretty tough to take.
"It's really tough to come down here. The crowd is behind them, there's a carnival atmosphere and everyone's having a good time.
It's very difficult to stop the rot and try to get into the game.
"In terms of possession, it was exactly the same as last week. We got the same type of feedback after the game that if you can't hold onto the ball then it's going to be a long night, especially down here."
When Ireland did arrest the decline, a visibly tiring French side, playing their first 80 minutes since the World Cup squad was announced indecently early -- last June -- were put under the cosh.
"They want to take you out at the knees early and take all the pace out of your game. But when that doesn't happen, sometimes they can start chasing their tails and if they don't get things their way they can get a bit frustrated.
"We showed a bit of character. It felt good in terms of counter-attacking at times. Perhaps when their kicks weren't as accurate as they would have liked, I thought we did well.
"I think the difference is whenever you take the ball back at them quickly, the defence comes off and if you start throwing loopy passes, messing about, it makes it very easy for them.
"But if you take the ball to them, they tend to sit down a bit. There's a bit of a race to the line in terms of counter-attacking. And we did well in bits and pieces. We still have to work at it but there was something we can take from here."
Mike Ross reported some frustration at the scrum interpretation, particularly when he was pinged in the second half.
"It was a bit annoying because it just popped up, a lot of referees would re-set that," he said. "It's probably something we should look at. We weren't going backwards."
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