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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 March, 2005, 18:52 GMT
O'Sullivan salutes skilful Wales
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll his tackled by Gavin Henson
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan praised Wales for their first Grand Slam since 1978 after his side succumbed to a 32-20 defeat at the Millennium Stadium.

"Wales were the best team and we have no real complaints," said O'Sullivan, whose Ireland side only came to life in the final throes of the game.

"They played a high risk game and showed a lot of courage and skill.

"They have been the best team in the Six Nations and you have to congratulate them."

O'Sullivan said that Wales were deserving of their victory after Ireland fell behind early in the second half.

''We started pretty well but then made a number of mistakes and Wales capitalised on that,'' said O'Sullivan, who will now have a job of changing an ageing team.

It shows how hard the margins are and what a great tournament this is
Eddie O'Sullivan

''Suddenly we were behind by two or three scores. We had to start the second half well but they took the initiative again and we had to play catch-up rugby after that.

''We scored a couple of tries but I don't think we got close enough to threaten them. We were hyped up beforehand partly because of our performances in the autumn and partly because of our backline.

''But that backline never appeared. We lost Gordon D'Arcy for most of the tournament and lost Shane Horgan and Brian O'Driscoll at other times.

''Unfortunately we don't have the same calibre of replacement and had to change tactics as a result. That puts pressure back on our pack and they are good, but against the big guns it is hard work.

''In fairness, Wales have had their injuries as well and you just have to make the best of it. At one point last week I thought we had France there for the taking but ended up losing.

"It shows how hard the margins are and what a great tournament this is.''

Mike Ruddock is likeable chap and that makes it a little bit easier to accept the result
Brian O'Driscoll

Irish captain Brian O'Driscoll was equally praiseworthy of the Welsh victory.

"I'm thoroughly disappointed but you have to take your hat off to Wales - they wanted it more,'' said O'Driscoll.

''They capitalised on our mistakes and were very clinical, the sign of a good side. "They have got progressively better throughout the championship and deserve their Grand Slam.

''They have been ruthless when they needed to be and have also shown plenty of steel as well.

"The fact they've won a Grand Slam speaks for itself. Congratulations to Mike who was my first coach at Leinster. He's a likeable chap and that makes it a little bit easier to accept the result."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan


Interview: Wales' coach Mike Ruddock


Highlights: Wales 32-20 Ireland


Presentation: Wales lift the Six Nations Trophy



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