Defeat to England hit Gordon D’Arcy hard on Saturday night but the veteran centre urged his team-mates not to dwell too long on the “what ifs” of their 13-10 Twickenham loss.
While it was his midfield partner Brian O’Driscoll’s final outing at the home of English rugby at the weekend, having turned 34 a fortnight ago, D’Arcy is also keeping an eye on the clock and wondering how many more opportunities he will get to notch another Twickenham victory.
“Personally this is going to hurt me quite a bit. How many more times am I going to get a chance in here?” D’Arcy said.
“And I’ve had so many good performances here and so many good results here.
“This is one of those, ‘what if’ moments, one of those almost moments in Twickenham and they hurt the most because you have that kind of inner belief and that it made sense that we could have won this game.
“We didn’t and when that happens it’s quite hard.”
Age also brings with it a sense of proportion and the Leinster inside centre added: “We’re going to meet up on Tuesday, the sun is going to come up tomorrow morning and everything will be put in perspective.
“And you kind of have to rally the troops now, you have to listen to the professionals and you’ve got to live with a win and you have to live with defeat as well.
“And personally I’ve never been afraid of failing or of losing a game. That happens in sport but you can’t let it take your eye off, you have to keep moving forward. We can’t let this game affect the rest of the championship.
“It’s happened and it’s over and we’re just going to look forward now.”
D’Arcy admitted his annoyance at some sloppy turnovers during an epic tussle but credited “a really, really aggressive English defence” that made life difficult for Ireland throughout and kept the Irish attack at bay as the visitors chased the game in an enthralling final 20 minutes.
“Having said that, there was probably three or four too many. You take those out of it, that can shift momentum in the game back in our favour. Joe is a big man for momentum in games and being able to recapture momentum when you lose it. It wasn’t solely inaccuracy on our part, it was good play by the English team and you have to accept that.
“Was it out of our control? Probably not, we definitely could have handled that period a lot better.
“We have a lot of young guys in our team and they will have gained valuable experience from this, and that experience now will help us in three weeks’ time when we’re in Paris, it’s always worth it.”
Hooker Rory Best also found some perspective in defeat but was disappointed his side couldn’t deliver the killer blow.
“I think this Irish team has now, I suppose, turned a bit of a corner,” Best said. “We don’t die away any more. We finish strongly; we had chances at the end but when we look back on it — and I’m speaking now in the aftermath of it — when we look back, we’ll probably feel that when we had the foot on the throat we didn’t finish it off we way we would like to, and the way we probably would expect to.
“Especially away from home, you need to keep on top of teams. If you give England a bit of momentum, which they got between 50 and 60 minutes, at home they’re hard. Any team with momentum at home are hard to stop.
“I think at times in that last 10 or 15 minutes we probably did the hard work in that we got them on the back foot but then just didn’t capitalise on it. That’s something in the last two games that we’ve been very good at — we’ve been clinical and we’ve been precise. Again it’s probably a step up in intensity and the opposition we’re playing but at the same time, you know, we fully expected to win this and we’ll be disappointed that...
“We definitely stepped up but we didn’t step up enough.”
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