Gordon D'Arcy tells of hurt and fears it's the last hurrah at Twickenham
Gordon D'Arcy blamed a combination of Ireland's sloppiness and England's aggression when he had to explain Saturday's Triple Crown and Grand Slam-wrecking defeat.
The Leinster centre, who partnered world record-equalling Brian O'Driscoll in midfield, faced up to the harsh reality that Irish mistakes had cost them dearly.
Uncharacteristically, there were turnovers and an error-count of the sort it had been hoped was a thing of the past under Joe Schmidt.
"Yeah, that's something we would pride ourselves on not having, but again you can't look at one thing in isolation – you have to look at it in the context of a really, really aggressive English defence that chose their moments to come off the line," D'Arcy said.
"That corresponds to a turn-over or a steal or a messy ruck, or something like that. Just isolating x amount of field of turn-overs.... there's a huge amount of context in them.
"But having said that, there was probably three or four too many. You take those out of it, that can shift momentum in the game back in our favour.
"Joe is a big man for momentum in games and being able to recapture the momentum when you lose it," D'Arcy explained.
He agreed that the momentum from Rob Kearney's 42nd minute try was that the time to drive home the resultant advantage and therefore the worst possible moment to have shown inaccuracy.
"Yeah, absolutely," he said, although that was qualified.
"It wasn't solely inaccuracy on our part – it was good play by the English team and you have to accept that," he said. "Was it out of our control? Probably not – we definitely could have handled that period a lot better."
With the match having been a barnstorming affair for those looking in from the outside, he was asked it had felt frenzied to those playing in it?
"Yeah, like we talked about the English line speed. We play them once a year and you kind of have to really get into that zone where they're running at you. They're a big physical team, and the first couple of contacts are pretty tough," he said.
"You're already in that head-space beforehand; we knew it was going to be tough and we knew it was going to be a physical battle – that's what it is with England.
"It's an arm-wrestle and they really try to squeeze you. You make mistakes because they put pressure on you."
With a two-week break before Ireland host Italy in the penultimate match of the 2014 Six Nations, D'Arcy was asked if that makes a difference in terms of preparation?
"Yeah, I think it definitely does – you can spread your eye a little bit wider and then focus back in the Italy game," he replied.
"We'll definitely have to look back to go forward, but then once we've done that this week it will narrow down onto the Italians."
"Personally, this is going to hurt me quite a bit. How many more times am I going to get a chance in here?"