Tough farewell result for O’Connell

Date published: August 29 2015

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Ireland captain Paul O'Connell admitted to feeling embarrassed at the reception he got after their 16-10 defeat to Wales in Dublin on Saturday.

The game was veteran second-row O'Connell's final international on home soil as he looked to say farewell on a high note in front of his adoring supporters.

But Ireland met an impressive Welsh side, who won thanks to flanker Justin Tipuric's first-half try and the reliable boot of full-back Leigh Halfpenny.

"There are a certain amount of things we wanted to improve on from the Scotland game, and we probably didn't do that. From our point of view that is disappointing," O'Connell told Sky Sports after the World Cup warm-up loss.

"There is no doubt about it that it's disappointing.

"There are certain things that we pride ourselves on, and we didn't do a whole lot of those very well today, with discipline being one of them.

"It's very hard to play as well as you would like in your first start of the season. I really appreciated the reception I got from the crowd today. I was just a little bit embarrassed that we lost the game.

"The penalty count is a big thing. Wales are a big side, and we gave them a few good cracks at us on five-metre drives, and we gave Leigh Halfpenny a lot of kicks at goal.

"I thought some of the penalties were tough and difficult to take, but at the same time, you can't blame that on a 15-6 penalty count against you.

"Victory is always important – that is what underpins everything we do.

"When we get a certain amount of things right in our game, it always puts us in a good place to win the match.

"Until we start putting those things in place, we don't stand a chance of winning, especially those big games against big teams."

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt added his side had only themselves to blame as they suffered their first loss since March 2015.

"You can't give Leigh Halfpenny goal-kicking opportunities, because he is too good at it. You can't give a team the quality of Wales the opportunity to enter into your defensive zone, because they will make you pay for it," he said.

"I said to the players in the changing room it's going to be very tough next week.

"They (England) are going to look to rebound from a slip-up in France, and they are going to bring a really physical performance to Twickenham to lay down a marker prior to the World Cup, and we are going to have to walk in there and man-up and do the best we can."

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