I’ve been sitting for about six hours now staring at a blank TV screen and asking myself, what happened there?
Forty minutes of sublime rugby from the Irish had reduced the New Zealanders to disarray and while their fight-back in the second half was inevitable, our boys had the means to wrap them up and choke the life out of their counter-attack.
Every single Irish player was immense. Everyone from the captain Paul O Connell to the immortal BOD, from poor Rory Best of the broken arm to the amazing Kearney brothers. Conor Murray was magnificent, though Jonny Sexton perhaps a little less so, especially when he waited so horribly long to take that crucial kick that went wide, though I’m not saying it cost us the match.
With about a minute to go, all Ireland needed was to retain possession and we would have beaten the All Blacks. One minute of up-the-jumper five-man rugby, the kind that Anthony Foley would understand, and Ireland would finally have defeated the best team in the world. One minute, that’s all. One agonising minute.
But instead, they gave away possession, to a side notorious for never giving up and the visitors were away, sensing blood. Throw in a bad call by the TMO on an obvious forward pass, a very harsh decision by referee Nigel Owens, to re-take the New Zealand conversion and it’s easy to see why the Irish are feeling so hard-done-by.
I don’t normally say this kind of thing because I believe a team should take its beating and shut up, but on this occasion, we were robbed.