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Monday, March 17, 2014

Ireland and O'Driscoll celebrate 2014 Six Nations victory in Paris

Brian O'Driscoll got the fairytale farewell Ireland fans had hoped for as the team he represented 133 times beat France 22-20 in Paris on Saturday to claim the 2014 Six Nations. Ireland's superior points difference proved crucial on the final weekend.

England fans wore blue on Saturday evening as they came within inches of claiming the title, only to have a French try-scoring pass ruled out for being forward. A France victory would have handed them the title, instead Ireland's impressive points tally made all the difference in the end.

O'Driscoll, now 35-years-old and having achieved all there is to achieve in the Northen Hemisphere (plus a Lions tour victory), bows out of the game a year before the Rugby World Cup.

"I don't want to take it off, because I know when I do, it will be for the last time," he said of the famous number 13 Ireland jersey that he's owned for the best part of fifteen years.

"It's a sheer delight to have won the championship. I have had a lot of good memories from the times between winning here 14 years ago and now, but to finish like this is incredibly special.

"Not many get the chance to end their careers on their own terms. I am just thankful to have been part of a great team who have massive potential to become even better," O'Driscoll added.

"I tried to channel my emotions into my performance. I couldn't let the occasion get the better of me. I think I played fair today - I did think I might get in for a try, but I had to come inside as I knew I didn't have the gas to burn on the outside.

"At the end, I did have a frog in my throat, there was a fair bit of emotion. There were some great emotions in the dressing room - and I wouldn’t bet against a few tears later on after a lot of beers!"

French coach Phillipe Saint-Andre, who appeared to question if that final pass was actually forward or not, paid tribute to O'Driscoll and said that next year France might have that extra bit of luck.

"Next year Brian O'Driscoll will not be here and maybe we will have the God of rugby on our side."

Congratulations to Ireland and O'Driscoll. Below are official extended highlights from the match.

Posted at 9:44 am | 23 comments

Posted in Six Nations 2014

Viewing 23 comments

DrG March 17, 2014 12:30 pm

Congratulations, awesome game, awesome team, awesome BOD. Will be missing him in the 13 shirt next year...

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DrG March 17, 2014 12:30 pm

Maybe Ireland should no longer have a 13 shirt, it should go 10, 11, 12, BOD, 14 :D

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Ronan March 17, 2014 12:32 pm

thank you joe smith, thank you ireland and thank you bod.....

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Eddie-g March 17, 2014 2:54 pm

Congratulations to Ireland, and take a bow, BOD.

BTW, does the God of rugby dictate how you play away from home? Because that's surely a big thing Saint Andre has to address.

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Facepalm March 17, 2014 4:37 pm

They really need to amend the law allowing you to place the ball against the post to score a try. It becomes an virtually indefensible fringe to a ruck when the attacking team is that close. Obviously this means there's a small section of the pitch the attacking team can't score but surely that's a lesser problem than the one currently?

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DrG March 17, 2014 5:13 pm

I was actually thinking the same thing, it is a bit of an odd rule, I can understand it but at the same time I find it strange because as you said, it's indefensible.

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browner March 18, 2014 2:28 pm

or even .... difficult to defend !

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Reality March 17, 2014 5:17 pm

Have to agree with Facepalm; putting the ball against the base of the post leaves a big weak spot in the defence and isn't very fair. I think in trench warfare-type situations the defending team is already too disadvantaged by having the posts get in the way when they're defending so why should the attacking team then get a further advantage?

Also, not that it matters, but did anyone else notice that in the build-up to France's first try from the cross-kick, Bastareaud to my eyes clearly knocked the ball on/passed it forward and although it went to Heaslip he got turned over at the next ruck when advantage would NOT have run its course and then France went down the pitch and scored. I thought it was a bit annoying but nobody else (especially Steve Walsh) seemed to notice it. It's a small thing but that small thing along with Szarzewki's small knock-on accounted for 14 points out of 22.

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Mastersa March 17, 2014 7:30 pm

Personally, I thought the very first penalty in minute one spelt out how badly Steve Walsh was going to reff the game. For me Bod was first tackler and Henderson was entitled to compete on his feet. It was held in and penalty should have gone to Ireland. Nigel Owen had to step onto pitch to signal another penalty and Barnes could be clearly seen with the hand on the hip for the blatantly obvious forward pass at the end, but still we had to enjour several minutes of playback for him to see what every one saw live. But no chance of him going upstairs when try scored at crowded post for which he had to move position to view final destination of ball but not actual grounding. Cian Healy can keep him on the Christmas card list. Despite his best efforts the game in both quality and excitement didn't fail to entertain. Come back Alaine Rowland. One more year! One more year!

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DrG March 17, 2014 10:20 pm

Funny, I could have sworn that Nigel Owens was the assistant referee in the Italy match earlier on in the day.. I mean I know the two countries aren't THAT far apart and if he hopped on a flight he could have made it, but that is sure a great effort to referee (albeit in an assistant manner) two full international games in one day...

..and the fact you're calling for Alain Rolland to referee more just sums the whole thing up...

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DanKnapp March 18, 2014 8:53 pm

Nigel Owens could referee all three games with his eyes shut.

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DanKnapp March 18, 2014 8:53 pm

In fact, he could probably listen to the games on the radio and get 98% of the calls right.

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Mastersa March 18, 2014 9:26 pm

Opps! It was Marius Mitrea. My bad. I wish Nigel did take the flight however.

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TotesMcGoates March 18, 2014 12:09 am

I thought Swareski's (sp?) was borderline but I'd allow it; he appeared to have fingertips on the ball from when he picked until he placed it on the ground and slid it forward and contacted the post. I've seen knock-ons given in general play for similar things but it's definitely up for debate.

A lot of parallels with this and Jessie Mogg's try at the weekend in Canberra.

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DrG March 18, 2014 11:40 am

I'd have to see it again, but I see what you're saying. A lot of tries are given when it is still just fingertips in contact with the ball.. so maybe you're right..

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DrG March 18, 2014 11:48 am

What are everyones thoughts on the new(ish) scrum laws... I'm not a fan of them particularly.. I don't know if this year the scrums have been better or not? I remember one game where I don't know if they completed a single scrum, each one resulted in penalties...

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themull March 19, 2014 10:26 pm

They're still far from perfect but they are immeasurably better than what they were over the past 5 or 6 years imo...One thing they need to change is that the clock needs to be stopped for scrums..Too much time is wasted on scrums and resets..This may seem somewhat trivial, but when its the last few minutes a team can potentially waste 2 or 3 vital mins going down at scrum time ..This puts any team fighting to get back into a match at as severe disadvantage..

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dear_mud March 18, 2014 1:32 pm

I think RD should do a post on Mathieu Bastareaud's classiness. Stopped not once but twice in France-Ireland game (when France had the ball on the attack) to check on Irish players he had just tackled, Rob Kearney and Jonathan Sexton.

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DanKnapp March 18, 2014 8:54 pm

You sure he wasn't out of breath?

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FelipeG March 19, 2014 3:46 pm

Bastareaud...classiness... not sure those two words get along very wel :-)
But still a good thing to see on the field. He did seem sincerely concerned about Sexton.

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JRed March 20, 2014 1:32 pm

They should have American Football (NFL) posts. That way the posts are set well behind the try line and cannot interfere with the goal line defense as they are mounted on a single post and curved forward to the try line.The upright plain of the posts can still be on the try line (for kicking distance)but the post can be 10 feet further back I understand that doing so would mean the posts would be in the middle of some stadiums in-goal area and nearly in the dead ball area in others. This of course brings up another point, the in-goal should be standard.

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DrG March 20, 2014 2:02 pm

I don't know, I like the perhaps imperfections of the game, the differing in goal areas make players and teams adapt to the pitch they're playing on, home teams have a greater advantage when it comes to the knowledge of the pitch (potentially), teams tactics can adapt accordingly...

As for the NFL posts, a good idea for avoiding this try line/post debacle, but they're so damn ugly in comparison, I don't think I could look at a rugby pitch with the same admiration again....lol...

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