Sport Rugby

Saturday 25 November 2017

We must use this as a Marker - O'Connell

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

from page 13

In keeping with the combative display, the injury list was a worrying one as the players return to their provinces, with Rory Best suffering a suspected broken arm.

Schmidt described the knock that saw Brian O'Driscoll go off injured in the 54th minute as a 'stinger' to his shoulder, but the medical team were pointing to their heads as he went off, while Johnny Sexton suffered some tightness in his hamstring.

Schmidt and Paul O'Connell opted not to criticise referee Nigel Owens for allowing Cruden retake his match-winning conversion, with the coach saying a draw would have been of little comfort.

And a dejected O'Connell lamented Ireland's inability to stop New Zealand's 60-metre march to the try-line in the last play and echoed Schmidt's calls for consistency.

"It's obviously very important we build on it, but we have produced these big performances full of accuracy in the past and we haven't followed it up," he said.

"The onus is on the players to maintain that standard.

"The next few weeks is a bit of distraction, with big games in the Heineken Cup, the inter-provincial derbies, and that, but it's important to keep today in the back of our minds as a marker."

Irish Independent

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