Brian O’Driscoll says what the whole of Ireland is feeling following World Cup Final
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The curtain came down on the 2023 Rugby World Cup on Saturday night with the Springboks crowned champions for a second successive time.
Victory over the All Blacks by just a single point ensured another famous victory Siya Kolisi’s side who were written off time and time again this year, but once again emerged as champions of the world.
It was a World Cup to remember, that’s for sure, but perhaps one that will not be remembered too fondly by Irish fans, who will have to wait another four years for another chance to try and break their quarter-final duct.
Andy Farrell’s side won all four of their pool games, including a win over winners South Africa (which proved to be their only defeat of the tournament), but once again fell short at the quarter-final stages, losing to finalists New Zealand.
And Brian O’Driscoll has come out and said what the whole country of Ireland is feeling right now – it really could have been their year this year only for that slip-up against the All Blacks.
“My overriding feeling watching the game at the weekend was, ‘this really could have been us’ and that’s so frustrating,” O’Driscoll told Off The Ball.
“If we were to play New Zealand another 10 times, we might win five. If you get that win, you do beat Argentina.
“You play against a team that you’ve beaten in the pool stages and that you don’t have a great fear factor of.”
No doubt Ireland will feel like it’s one that got away, but O’Driscoll credited South Africa for holding their bottle when it really mattered in those tight knockout games.
“We didn’t get it done, they did and they’re the ones that deserve all the plaudits,” he added.
“In the tight margin games, they showed the knowhow to hold their bottle when they really needed to, particularly Handre Pollard kicking a goal in the semi-final with four minutes to go. That’s something you have to tip your cap to.”