Back to our old friend Aristotle again – character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things, a man chooses to avoid. Ireland chose to win and they showed the sort of character which, for 61 years, has been missing. They've come close, and, yes, they were lucky yesterday but they showed a tenacity of purpose and strength of character which no team in this country of ours has ever matched.
They did it by way of intelligent and coherent expression. We knew that, at half-time, 6-0 would not be an insurmountable score to overcome.
Ireland chose territory for the first-half and we knew that when the second-half came they would have to play. At half-time, once again, as they did in the Scottish game, they upped the intensity, planned with audacity, executed with vigour and played at a pace that Wales could not live with.
Ireland went looking for the ball and from a lineout went 10 phases. The ball was so slow, particularly from the last three or four, but at all stages they gainlined despite Welsh illegality, some reasonable fringe and some pretty good scramble defence.
We never saw Brian O'Driscoll , when did he come into the fray? When Wayne Barnes went to the TMO, why exactly was he making a call? Nobody had got close to the line. When O'Driscoll made his mark against England, a sign of a champion to take responsibility, he came from nowhere but once again his body angles, his speed from the time he gets his hands on the ball is like a snake attack as he gets the ball over the line. He is almost impossible to defend that close to the line.
A score of 7-6 wasn't really going to bother this confident Welsh side that was playing well within itself . They were content to play containment and look for opportunity when it presented itself on the rare occasion they got into the Irish 22.
Once again, Kidney addressed an area, in the week prior to the match, and not many people would have had the audacity or the imagination to think of it. Shane Williams is for many one of the best strike runners in the game, the world player of the year, and a guy who has kickstarted many of Wales' best offensive forays over the last five years. Surely it would be suicide to kick to him, or to kick behind him. Kidney thought differently and they went after him.
The tactic was used five times and came off spectacularly in 45th minute. Off a scrum, O'Gara chipped behind. It looked like an indecisive and aimless kick but it was so perfectly executed and weighted, it caught Williams by surprise and it took him a nanosecond to react. Henson was caught ball watching and Bowe came though, between the two of them, at real velocity. It is one of the reasons why this game, with an oval ball, can produce such drama.
Danger and opportunity are uneasy bedfellows. Ireland took their foot off the accelerator and let Wales come back and give it their best shot. They mixed the good with the bad. Ireland identified the Welsh lineout as a source of supply. Paul O'Connell, and his team on the ground, were sharp enough to realise that Matthew Rees' throwing was flat and he managed to get up early and high in front where you could pick off ball. The Welsh didn't cop it and Ireland picked off six crucial, vital, life-enhancing quality balls which took the oxygen out of the Welsh life blood. They too need to attack off tight play to get their offload, high-tempo game going.
Sometimes worry compounds a situation and thinking opens new avenues. Ireland stopped thinking for about 20 minutes and really had to scramble on instinct as their better players kept them in it. I am sure some cardiac units around the country are bursting to the seams today. Ireland gave away some really really stupid penalties and they also managed to concoct four needless forward passes and simple intelligence would have kept them maintaining the pressure on the Welsh.
Our champion captain, in the 69th minute, made one of about a dozen supreme plays which effectively turned the tide in Ireland's favour - a stupendous tackle and turnover on 'Tinsel Tits' Henson. It is almost physically impossible to do what O'Driscoll did into the tackle and move through three players to regain the ball.
But again the Welsh just had the confidence to play their game. Mark Jones made a telling break in the 74th minute and Mike Phillips, a few seconds later. Jones tucked the drop-goal but the score came too early and Ireland came back for one last gasp to rescue the crown which they would not let go. The control and the determination, as they took the ball up into the Welsh 22, and the intellect and instinct required to crab it infield, particularly by David Wallace made it a far easier dropgoal by O'Gara.
There was no better way to end a match, of such thrilling intensity, than to have it settled by O'Gara. Champions, real champions. Ireland must now recognise that we have real champions in our midst.
And to quote Robert Frost:
The glory of a next Irish age, of a power leading from strength and pride, of young ambition eager to be tried, firm in our free belief without dismay, in any game the nations want to play. A golden age of rugby and power, of which this Saturday evening's the beginning hour.