ON SELECTING RONAN O'GARA AS CAPTAIN INSTEAD OF PAUL O'CONNELL:
â0I made the call on the basis that Paul has been out for a while and has only one full Six Nations match under his belt. I want him to focus on his own game and lead the pack.
"That will take some pressure off him and allow him to concentrate on his own performance. Paul was happy with the decision. Itâ00s a good division of labour, letting him focus on getting the pack going.
â0Ronan has captained Munster from out-half this year. Itâ00s spreading the load a bit. Itâ00s a danger it could impinge on his own game but thereâ00s no evidence from Munster that it's affected him.
"Heâ00s a very experienced player who is well capable of managing the team. Ronan is a senior player and in the past has taken the unofficial role of captain on the pitch at times.
â0Itâ00s not a massive leap to give him the captaincy. Heâ00s been a leader in his own right without the official tag of captain. Heâ00s been his usually self since leading Munster. He will be a fine captain."
ON HIS COACHING RECORD IN THE SIX NATIONS:
"Here's a statistic - in the four years between World Cups Ireland are second only to France in terms of the number of Six Nations wins accumulated.
"In fact France have won only two more Six Nations matches than Ireland between 2004 and 2007. The Six Nations is where we set our stall.
"I don't see the Irish Rugby Football Union's policy of wanting to win every Six Nations match changing. In that context we've picked the best possible team to play England.
"And whatever happens at Twickenham Ireland will still be second only to France in Six Nations wins after five championships.
"Given those statistics of course it's frustrating to not have more to show for them. In the best case scenario you want to be entering the final weekend of the Six Nations playing for a Grand Slam or title and then a Triple Crown.
"But when you lose two games those are all but gone. It's still the Six Nations and there's still much to play for. There's no question of doing anything other than trying to get a win against England."
ON KEEPING THE SQUAD FRESH AND PROGRESSING UNDER HIM:
"Teams go through cycles - players come and go, combinations change, players retire. You can't say the team is getting stale because it's changing.
"So the question is can I keep the team working and fresh? That's the challenge facing me and there are varying opinions on. My position is 'absolutely', I'm very happy to do the job and I believe I can.
"The ups and down in the business means these sort of questions will crop up but that's understandable.
"The situation is as long as I'm doing the job and comfortable to do it, then I'm happy to carry on. The players are happy and that's the key issue because that means we can progress and continue."
ON DEALING WITH MEDIA CRITICISM:
â0Criticism is criticism. Thereâ00s a lot of opinion out there. People have to write stuff and others have plenty to say. Some of the opinion is right - the criticism is fair - but some of it is wrong and ill-informed.
"Not everything that is written about me or the Irish team is accurate, fair and true. But if you get hung up on that you have a miserable life. I have to say the media side of it is not my favourite part of the job, but it is part of the job.
â0The spin-off is you get criticised, but you canâ00t get hung up on it. You canâ00t spend your life worrying about what people are thinking or saying about you - it wouldnâ00t be a very nice way to live. I canâ00t live like that and everyone in my position sees it the same way."