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Ireland v Samoa: O’Driscoll finds it hard to beat winning feeling

By Niall Crozier

Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll was glad just have emerged from a tough game with Samoa as a winner.

“It’s a lot easier being in a winning dressing room than in a losing one, irrespective of the manner in which you lose,” he|admitted.

“It’s nice to be back to winning ways and nice to remind ourselves of what that feeling is like. No better week to do it than going in to play a Test match against the All Blacks.”

But coach Declan Kidney faces some very tough decisions ahead of that Aviva Stadium Test on Saturday.

Against Samoa, currently ranked 11th in world rugby, his side looked far short of being one capable of beating the New Zealanders who continue to top the ratings.

“We have a huge amount of work to do,” Kidney said minutes after watching Ireland struggle for an hour before finally pulling clear of the Samoans.

“Samoa were what I expected them to be and they adapted better than I though they would to the conditions.

“They were strong up front. A lot of match time went on scrummaging. It was a very stop-start type of game.”

He added: “We're not exactly firing on all cylinders to the extent that we're probably turning over a bit more ball than we want to.

“But we're having a go at it and if you don't try things you won't learn.

“We're trying to play with the ball in hand and I'd prefer us to be trying things and making a few mistakes than not trying out things.”

It certainly was stop-start and a New Zealander played no small part in that.

Referee Keith Brown’s handling of the scrum saw Ireland penalised no fewer than seven times and caused evident frustration and bewilderment among the Irish front row.

Kidney, however, refused to point the finger of blame at the Kiwi official.

“The referee is a player as much as anybody else and it’s up to us to adapt to how he’s playing the game,” he suggested.

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