- ON HIS FIRST TEST XV -
"Itâ00s a side that never played together before. What Iâ00m trying to do is give them a basic template to play next week so they can all fit into some sort of a game-plan.
"Having said that, when you leave your starting 15 at home, itâ00s always a challenge but thatâ00s the challenge in picking this team."
- ON MALCOLM O'KELLY'S SELECTION -
"I've spoken to Malcolm and had a good discussion with him. He needs to get back to form to put him back into the Irish team. And unfortunately for him he had a pretty frustrating spring. He struggled with his knee injury, and then missed the entire Six Nations. He has only got back into the Leinster team in recent times and has been building form gradually.
"There is a lot of competition in the second row. We have four locks out here and theyâ00ll all get to play. Malcolm isnâ00t taking anything for granted.
"I know his goal is the Rugby World Cup. He has had a tough year and he needs to get back to his form. This tour is very important to Malcolm and he knows that."
- ON BRIAN CARNEY'S CALL-UP -
"I think Brian's adapted well. The question mark for him is making the transition from league to union. From what I've seen so far, he's doing that pretty seamlessly. He's a good professional.
"Probably the one thing in his favour is that he's played at a pretty high level. And he has been in the cauldron of international rugby, albeit in league rather than union. But he seems to have the temperament.
"And the question mark is can he make the transition to the next level up. I'm reasonably confident that he can, that's why I picked him and we'll have to see. But I think from what I've seen with Munster, he's acquitted himself very, very well. He's a very skilful player."
- ON PICKING GAVIN DUFFY -
"Gavin would be the example of a guy who really wasnâ00t making things happen for himself at Harlequins and the opportunity arose to get him back to Connacht. By taking that opportunity he put himself in the shop window and I think, in fairness to him, his case arises out of that, as you can say that too of Brian Carney."
- ON CAPTAINING HIS COUNTRY -
"This is something Iâ00ve been really looking forward to, like a dream come true. It is always a surprise, an honour when you hear something like that. For me, it is going to be very special. It is different from captaining your province.
"Being captain is a role that I really enjoy a lot and have been doing so with Ulster for the last couple of seasons, but to captain the Irish squad is truly great. Everything went very quickly in the last 10 days."
- ON THE FIRST TEST AGAINST THE PUMAS -
"Itâ00s important not to feel intimidated. Itâ00s a matter of being confident on the preparation weâ00ve been doing and we have prepared very well in the last 10 days.
"Iâ00m sure Saturdayâ00s match will be a very tough one, very physical."