The Official Online RBS 6 Nations Store is open. The store has everything you need to get behind your team during the RBS 6 Nations, plus the store is now fully stocked with a much wider range of rugby merchandise.
But Wales roared back into the match thanks to scores from Alex Cuthbert, Leigh Halfpenny and replacement prop Craig Mitchell, only to fall short of a dramatic comeback, going down 30-22.
It was a first defeat in six RBS 6 Nations matches for Wales but it was an eighth in a row in all competitions and a fifth on the spin at the Millennium Stadium, making it their worst home run in their history.
It was also the first time in four matches they had lost to Ireland, having won in Dublin last year, in Cardiff the year before, and the World Cup quarter-final in between.
And O’Driscoll, who bounced back from the disappointment of missing out on the Ireland captaincy to produce a man-of-the-match performance on the day he levelled ex-Ireland centre Mike Gibson’s record of Championship starts (56), believes it was long overdue.
“It was hugely important to get off to a good start, the first game is a must-win otherwise you’re chasing tails for the rest of the competition,” he said.
“We started really well – we owed Wales one, they’ve done a job on us the last three times.
“We came out of the blocks in the first half and played really well and then just sat back and defended.
“In fairness, they weren’t going to be flat for the whole game and they really put it to us in that second half.
“I think it was their discipline that saw them get back into the game, it has a knock on effect to momentum – they did well to kick to the corners and build.
“They just tired us down and they got on the front foot. Rugby’s a game of momentum and if you can build it then it’s hard to stop it.”