O'Driscoll looks on the bright side
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll insisted his side's crushing 33-10 defeat by France does not signal an end to Irish rugby's purple patch.
A 12-match unbeaten run, which included victory over world champions South Africa as well as the RBS 6 Nations title, was halted in emphatic fashion in sub-zero temperatures at the Stade de France. The French justified their tag of championship favourites with a clinical destruction of O'Driscoll's men but the skipper believes his team will learn from their first defeat since November 2008 in time for their trip to Twickenham in a fortnight's time.
"We certainly don't think we've come to the end of a cycle," said O'Driscoll. "Obviously there is huge disappointment.
He added: "We haven't felt that for over a year but results like that are quite grounding at times. Not that we ever thought we were infallible but you get a reality check from those sort of games.
"You realise you haven't got everything bang on and we've got to use that to our advantage by putting the small things right.
"It's only a shame we don't have a game next week to put it right but hopefully we'll be back on it when we go to Twickenham."
French hooker William Servat scored the game's first try after 27 minutes while Ireland were down to 14 men through the sin-binning of prop Cian Healy for obstruction and centre Yannick Jauzion added a second before half-time, when the French led 17-3.
Ireland, who lost full-back Rob Kearney with a worrying knee injury, became increasingly ragged and conceded a third try to full-back Clement Poitrenaud before claiming a consolation effort through flanker David Wallace.
It was as emphatic as they come and O'Driscoll admits the French remain firm favourites to succeed Ireland as champions.
"On a performance like that, it would take a very good team to beat them," he said. "They played a physical game and gave their backs some good go-forward ball. It was a complete French performance."