10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
EDDIE O'SULLIVAN QUOTES:
- ON WINNING DOWN UNDER -
"Of course we have the potential to win out there (in New Zealand and Australia) and we know that it's something that's never been done before. We always set our ambitions at a level where we like to push our game on and raise the bar. Our goal is to beat them and you won't do that by standing off them.
"I think there's as good a chance now as ever of winning a Test in New Zealand. You can never say what the outcome will be but if you go with the right mindset and with the correct mental attitude you can potentially with a Test down there.
"We certainly have the capabilities of doing that, but whether we do that or not, well, we won't know for a couple of weeks.
"We almost won one four years ago (15-6 v New Zeland) against the odds, but that one got away from us. We're hopeful we'll put ourselves in the same position this time around and not make the same mistake."
- ON INJURY WORRIES -
"The only concern at the moment is John Kelly, who picked up a knock (to his left shoulder) playing for Munster last weekend.
"We're going to give John every chance of making it. We've brought Anthony Horgan into the panel just in case it doesn't work out for John.
"Taking a global view of the squad, we've got a pretty good injury profile. I think we've often left on tours like this with a lot of key players absent through injury so I think we've been quite fortunate in that respect this year."
- ON PLAYER MANAGEMENT -
"I think it's important to say that we've managed the players very well in terms of their pre-seasons, their holidays and their down-time during the year.
"That's a difficult thing to do because they're trying to serve two masters - the international team and their provincial side - but they've been managed pretty well by everybody and that's reflected in our injury profile.
"It's really quite good after nine months of a rugby season. We're getting that balance right and now we're going down there with a strong squad that's determined to give it a good go."