Irish Lions Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll have has praised their side’s team-spirit after they secured a long-awaited Grand Slam triumph with a narrow victory over Wales.
Munster skipper O’Connell, who admitted that he thought the game had been lost right at the death, applauded the way his colleagues continually backed each other throughout an enthralling 80 minutes.
”We made some sloppy mistakes and conceded some penalties but whenever we made mistakes we kept showing up for each other,” said O’Connell, who, along with O’Driscoll, is among the leading contenders for the Lions captaincy later this year.
”That’s what won us the game.”
The giant second row initially thought a last-minute penalty from Wales fly-half Stephen Jones was about to deny Ireland their crowing glory but the ball dropped short to leave O’Connell a Grand Slam winner.
The 29-year-old has been in outstanding form throughout the Six Nations Championship but he talked only of the team’s commitment and patience rather than of his own towering success.
“I thought we’d lost it,” he added. ”I was looking around at all the boys getting excited and realised the ball had dropped short of the posts.
”We got two very good tries. The first one showed a lot of patience. Drico (O’Driscoll) showed a lot of balls to take that on – it was a massive try.”
Despite have been doubted by many prior to the start of the season, O’Driscoll has been a leading light for his country once more.
The 2005 Lions captain has led by example throughout Europe’s premier international competition and he was again a central figure on Saturday evening.
”Winning feels so good,” admitted O’Driscoll, after finally claiming a Six Nations Championship title 10 years after his Ireland debut.
”To go down to the end, it would have broken my heart to lose. We have taken a lot of flak over the past 18 months, to be Grand Slam- winners, the first in 61 years, I am delighted.”