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We've set a higher benchmark, says D'Arcy

By Niall Crozier

Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy expressed his disappointment at having seen his side fail to finish the job from what ought to have been a match-winning position.

"It's so close after the game, there's a few things that didn't go our way in the second-half, but if you give yourself a 20-point lead you'd like to think you can hold on to it," he said.

What matters most now, he felt, is that Ireland maintain the level of intensity they showed yesterday.

"We have to, absolutely, that's the benchmark now for Ireland," D'Arcy said. "If everybody's talking about now 'can we kick on? Is it okay to lose so valiantly?' Only if we build on this. We've an opportunity for a Six Nations (title) but only if we build on this performance. If we don't we're essentially peeing into the wind."

With regard to his own outstanding defence, he said: "I knew I had to be aggressive in the breakdown, aggressive carrying the ball and cover as much ground as I could and I think for the most part I did what I was told to do.

"Everybody knew their job, where they had to be and they did it with passion and aggression."

As for talk of so near but yet so far and gallant losers, D'Arcy's response to that was: "It's what we talk about on media days. I don't want to show up and lose by two points to the All Blacks, that's not what I'm here for, I'm here to beat that team and we should have beaten that team but we didn't and we have to pick ourselves up and we've got to take all the positives we can and build from that.

"We've got to take it on and use that as the base and really smash teams in the Six Nations."

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