O'Connell hopes Ireland can respond

O'Connell hopes Ireland can respond

IRELAND captain Paul O'Connell wants his team to respond to Saturday's loss against Wales in Cardiff by winning the RBS Six Nations next weekend.

Joe Schmidt's squad travel to Murrayfield for a crucial clash with Scotland, but Wales and England are also in Championship contention.

England face France at Twickenham, while Wales will be hoping to record a convincing victory over Italy in Rome as three fascinating fixtures remain in the competition.

“The Scotland game is the big focus now and we still have a crack at the Championship,” O'Connell said in an interview with RTE following the Wales reversal.

O'Connell admitted that Ireland's failure to convert opportunities in the second half proved costly. “We probably needed to score in that big period when we were down in their green zone.

“It would have continued the momentum we had been building, but they held out. It gave them a massive lift and they got the crack at us in our 22, they scored.”

Wales blistering start had Ireland in trouble. “The discipline at the start of the game was disappointing,” was O'Connell's verdict. “It was a replica of the England game, but the other way around. Two weeks ago we gave them a leg up, this week we probably gave them a leg up.

“We gave ourselves a lot of work to do early in the game. With the penalties we gave away and the referee’s interpretation. So it was a long way to come back, but we did, we gave ourselves a chance to win the game, but we just didn’t do that.

“We had a lot of phases and they held out, it’s testament to them as a team and their defence.”