O'Driscoll laments what might have been
Sean Martin
12:24 AEST Sun Jun 17 2012

It was the best Ireland have played against the All Blacks, but veteran centre Brian O'Driscoll found it hard to find positives after a heartbreaking 22-19 loss in Christchurch.

The 33-year-old gave another inspirational display as the side he captains came painfully close to earning a first win over the All Blacks in their 26th attempt.

But after the match, played in freezing conditions at the new Addington stadium on Saturday night, O'Driscoll was struggling to come to terms with the last-minute defeat courtesy of a Daniel Carter drop kick.

"It's difficult when you've fought your way back into the game, you're level on the board and then they were a man down for the last second or eight minutes.

"It's difficult right now to see all the positives."

His 11th defeat in Ireland's colours to the All Blacks was one which restored some pride in the jersey after a weak effort in losing the first Test by 32 points.

It prompted a team meeting to talk through why the standards the team set for themselves fell so short in Auckland.

"We dipped below those standards last week, both collectively and individually. The jersey deserved a bit more from us. I think we did manage to do that albeit we fell at the final hurdle."

Referee Nigel Owens may have contributed to that fall after a contentious decision to penalise the dominant Ireland scrum when they were camped deep in All Blacks' territory with time ticking down.

"The decision at the scrum was a big one - it gave them field position and gave them an opportunity to have a pop (at goal).

"Maybe we just needed to play a little smarter including at that scrum."

The third Test in Hamilton next week will give O'Driscoll, unlikely to ever face the All Blacks again, a final chance for him and his side to break their drought.

"We'll chase that elusive victory as much as we possibly can," O'Driscoll said.

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