Sean O'Brien's head bore the telltale, crimson grazes of violent skirmish but, for a man who had spent the day charging at a machine-gun nest, his condition was implausibly good.
He stood with hands in the pockets of a grey suit, his mouth pursed against the sharp taste now building in his mouth. Someone asked him if he was angry. He raised his eyebrows as if startled that we might even consider the question necessary.
"Yeah, I'd say I am angry, yeah," he said, shuffling his feet. "We should have trusted each other there in the last couple of minutes. We were kind of not getting set early enough and not coming off the line on them again and you just need to want it that little bit more I think in the last few minutes of a game. That's when you should be trying even harder.
"So yeah I'd say a lot of the lads are a bit angry at the finish."
Ireland forgot to close out history and could find no consolation now in the kindly back-slaps.
For O'Brien, the sense of Ireland finishing the game with their nerves in a ball had been simply galling. "You know, I think it's time lads grew up and got to know what's expected of them when they pull on an Irish jersey," he reflected.
"I think lads will have to have a good look at their game and assess where we are and what we did well and what we didn't do so well. You know we can improve on that performance today. We were obviously annoyed after last week (against Australia) and that fuelled the fire for today.
"That performance, we can be proud of it. But you know it still wasn't good enough."
"When we had the ball, we were very very good in the first-half. Maybe in the second-half we probably them too much respect.
"But it's massively important we learn from this."