"Of course it's not the right call because they haven't won the game" - Brian O'Driscoll 9 months ago

"Of course it's not the right call because they haven't won the game" - Brian O'Driscoll

He was not trying to stick the boot in, but the former Ireland captain was nonetheless perplexed.

With seven minutes to go, as Ireland tried to finish off what would have been another incredible comeback in Paris, referee Angus Gardner awarded them a penalty in front of the posts. Brian O'Driscoll was willing them to go for an attacking lineout.


Having plundered over for a try, early in the second half, from an attacking lineout drive, many fans at home, and at Stade de France, urged Ireland to go for the kill.

Instead, captain James Ryan consulted with the on-field brains trust and told Joey Carbery to go for the posts. He duly did and Ireland trailed just 27-24 with time left to mount at least one more decent attack.

As it transpired, France attacked with gusto and almost scored a try before Melvyn Jaminet chipped over as close range penalty to make it 30-24. Ireland still had a late chance to get a try, but poor decisions from sub Jack Carty and fullback Hugo Keenan saw possession twice squandered as France saw it out.

Following the game, which keeps France on course for a Grand Slam, former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll questioned that James Ryan call.


Hugo Keenan reacts after a France try, which was subsequently disallowed at Stade de France. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

"They didn't back themselves," says Brian O'Driscoll

In the post-match analysis on ITV, O'Driscoll reflected on that late call by James Ryan.


"Listen, of course it's not the right call because they haven't won the game now. It's easy to look back retrospectively.

"But, in real time, all of us were obviously deliberating it here (in the studio). Because they had success from the previous maul, that van der Flier had got his try from, it seemed like the obvious route to go. They were six points behind so they'd have to score at least another penalty to only draw the game. Seven points would have put them into the lead if they had scored the try and knocked over the conversion.

"I'm just surprised - with this team's mentality, they go to the corner so often. And yet, when it got tight like this, they didn't back themselves."

The comments of O'Driscoll were echoed by former Wales star Gareth Thomas, in the ITV studio, and Shane Horgan in the Virgin Media studio [back in Ireland].

Asked about the decision to go for the posts, rather than an attacking lineout, James Ryan responded:

"I felt like that was the right decision at the time... we backed ourselves to get within three points and win the game after that."


"It's the right decision," said Ireland coach Andy Farrell in the same post-match briefing."There's no doubt about that."