19 May, 11:13
There are six uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the summer tour to North America that was named this morning. An Emerging Ireland squad has also been selected for the Tblisi Cup in Georgia.
WAYNE SMITH QUOTES:
- ON A FULLY FIT BRIAN O'DRISCOLL -
"(Brian) O'Driscoll is world class. Looking at their recent games I think he has developed his defensive game immensely. He is like another loose forward in defence.
"New Zealanders are in for a treat. He's one of the (more) special players there has ever been probably. It's a challenge for our boys - we've got Casey (Laulala) and Ma'a (Nonu) in this team. I think they/ve both had pretty good Super 14s, they're good young men and I'm sure they'll rise to the challenge.
"But it is a big challenge for them."
- ON THE CHALLENGE POSED BY IRELAND -
"We think Ireland will be really strong for the two Tests.
"We think they'll be better than the Lions last year - they'll be more unified. They won the Triple Crown, Munster have just won the Heineken Cup which is helluva difficult. It's a big competition for them.
"They have two of their key players back - their leaders O'Driscoll and (Paul) O'Connell who didn't play against us in the autumn. So I think, all in all, it points to them being passionate, much more competitive than they in the autumn and probably hurting.
"They experienced a Lions tour which was disappointing, they experienced a loss at Lansdowne Road and we know what we would be like under those conditions (losing at home).
They are going to be tough opponents which is good; it's just what we need."