Andy Farrell and Johnny Sexton have bemoaned Ireland’s missed chances after defeat by France ended their Six Nations title hopes.
Ireland needed to win by at least seven points in order to clinch the trophy, but contributed to their own demise with an error-strewn display in Paris.
Despite creating some promising situations, the visitors wasted numerous opportunities in opposition territory while a misfiring line-out and several handling errors helped France pick up a deserved victory.
“I felt tonight was there for the taking, we’ll look back on it with a lot of regrets,” said captain Sexton.
“At this level you can’t give teams scores from your mistakes, you need to make them work harder.
“They made us work unbelievably hard for our scores and we weren’t quite clinical enough.
“I don’t know how may five metre lineouts we had and our conversion rate from them wasn’t too hot.”
Ireland’s most glaring missed opportunity came on the stroke of half-time when they trailed by four points.
Having won a penalty midway through the French half, Sexton opted against taking a kickable three points in favour of going for the corner, a decision which ultimately did not pay off as France forced a turnover under their own posts.
“There was enough opportunities there for us to win two games,” reflected head coach Farrell.
“We certainly weren’t clinical enough with the opportunities that we had and if you don’t take your chances in big games like this you come unstuck eventually.
“We’d enough entries into the French 22 and didn’t come away with the points, it’s as simple as that really.”
“We killed our own momentum at times and that stopped the fluidity of things.”
The defeat allowed England to clinch the title as Ireland dropped to a third place finish having lost two of their five matches.
Farrell’s side will now turn their attentions to the Autumn Nations Cup, which begins against Wales in Dublin on Friday 13 November.