Ireland set sights on Wallabies

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll left New Zealand for Australia confident of a strong performance against the Wallabies in Perth next weekend. [more]

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Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll left New Zealand for Australia confident of a strong performance against the Wallabies in Perth next weekend.

O’Driscoll was disappointed his team proved unable to leave with at least one Test victory after strong performances in both Tests against the All Blacks.

The 27-17 scoreline did little justice to the closeness of the second Test in Auckland on Saturday and that has raised the spirits of O’Driscoll and his team-mates as they cross the Tasman.

"I’d like to think it is going to make just a little bit hungrier. This team has really moved on in the last couple of years. We don’t accept mediocrity or close losses, that’s no good for us," the British & Irish Lions skipper said.

While the 27-year-old was pleased with his side’s ability to take the game to one of the toughest rugby nations in the world, O’Driscoll was unwilling to accept the result as any form of success.

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He explained: "In the past perhaps Irish teams might have been guilty of accepting close defeats as a reasonable result but that’s not the case with this team."

O’Driscoll was disappointed the team had been confronted with the same opportunity for victory both times – having lost a close match 34-23 seven days previously – and let it slip.

"We found ourselves within touching distance of the All Blacks going into the last few minutes, we kind of let them off the hook in a way, and that’s very disappointing," he said.

"You could see in the dressing room the disappointment in the boys’ faces, now that there are two big opportunities that passed us by.

"And you don’t know when that next opportunity against them is going to come."

O’Driscoll was frustrated by Ireland’s inability to capitalise on opportunities and believes it was the small mistakes which eventually cost the tourists Saturday’s match.

"When we got within three points of them [in the second Test] we really felt we had them on the rack," he said.

"We just came up with a couple of silly errors at crucial times that punished us. It was a hard-fought Test match and sometimes you have to grind those ones out, but like I said, the fact that we didn’t manage to grind it out in the end is a huge disappointment."

Coach Eddie O’Sullivan observed how the All Blacks slightly changed their game plan in the match and were more suited to playing in the shocking conditions at Eden Park.

As torrential rain fell in Auckland, the All Blacks moved the action up into their forward pack and Ireland were unable to match it.

"We weren’t in the position to play exactly the game they played, we played as well as we could in the conditions," said O’Sullivan.

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