12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
See below for quotes from Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan as the build-up to Sunday's Guinness Autumn Test match against Australia continues.
- ON THE TEAM CHANGES -
"I don't think the team is unduly weakened by the changes. It's an opportunity for a couple of guys to build up experience and for others with a lot of experience to send their own message back.
"It's working the system as best we can, and we will take into account performances in the 'A' match before we choose the team to meet the Pacific Islands next week. It's all about trying to make progress, and we realised that with the 'A' game taking place, we really had to work with a squad of 22 this week.
"I think it's a reasonable selection - not over the top with changes - and it's one that can go out and win a Test game."
- ON ISAAC BOSS STARTING AT SCRUM HALF -
"It's Isaac Boss' first start and an opportunity for him to show what he can do. He has done well for Ulster and was on our summer tour, so we have a pretty good idea of him. He's a different player to Peter (Stringer).
"Isaac's a more robust player in some ways, in that he is more aggressive around the fringes. He likes to run a lot, he likes to take on the back row and the defenders at rucks. He is the kind of guy who can create problems in that area.
"He took a while to settle in. I saw him initially at Ulster, but he is more effective this year. He is really on form and he has fought his way in there - he hasn't been starting Test games, he has been coming off the bench, and there is a big difference.
"His service is fine. We won't be changing our game because we have a new half-back, to be honest, there's not a tonne of difference between him and Peter, they can both take a gap and they're both good passers, they can both kick.
"Isaac might have different strengths but they are two Test players and it's not something that is going to change the whole make-up of our game. We'll see how he copes with the build-up to the game. I have no doubt that he will perform, and he deserves a shot now."
- ON BRYAN YOUNG COMING INTO THE FRONT ROW -
"I was going to have to put Bryan (Young) in there at some point in the season. I wouldn't underestimate the Australian scrum at all - we got hoovered off the ball when we played them in Perth this year and we lost our concentration - but it's time for Bryan to step up to the plate, start a Test game and see how it goes.
"He is well able for this and we do need to explore our possibilities. It wasn't too long ago he wasn't marked at all, but he has done very well for Ulster. It's a good opportunity for him.
"I'm glad he's been operating for Ulster at tighthead as well as loosehead, it's good for a prop to get experience on both sides of the scrum. But he's more confident on the loosehead side and that's where he has played most of his rugby."
- ON THE OTHER BACK LINE CHANGES -
"Denis Hickie broke his leg last year and he missed the start of the season, and unfortunately for him Andrew (Trimble) burst onto the scene this time last year.
"I've spoke to Denis about this and it's tough for him because he is a very experienced player. I had him at Under-21 level and he has always been on the team when he's been fit to play since I have been involved.
"He has been a regular, he has a huge amount of experience, but he has been unfortunate with injuries. Denis hasn't been playing badly, but Andrew has been playing really well.
"It was frustrating for Denis when he didn't play on the summer tour, but I told him that his chance would come. With Andrew injured, his chance has maybe come earlier than expected, but he deserves his chance and I've no doubt he will take his opportunity.
"It's tough on Girvan (Dempsey), he has just fought his way back into the team, but I would like to see Geordan (Murphy) back in the full-back role to see where his form actually is at this level."
- ON FACING AUSTRALIA -
"We've lost our last four games on the bounce against Australia so the omens aren't good for beating them. Against Australia you don't know what is going to happen. It's a very tactical game and I enjoy that in the sense that there's a lot of coaching to be done on the day.
"You have to adjust the game plan around what's happening in front of you. You have to have an open mind over where to attack. If you get it right you'll win, if you don't you won't - it's as simple as that.
"We're pretty evenly matched in all departments. Australia aren't much bigger than us and they don't have an advantage in speed. They're a very skilful team which is tactically aware and the game will be won on tactics."
- ON ANDREW TRIMBLE'S INJURY -
"Andrew got a really bad knock over his knee on the summer tour. He had quite a bit of bruising and spent a lot of time rehabbing it. His pre-season, in terms of building power in his legs, was truncated. He isn't completely up to where he needs to be, in that respect. The spin off is that he's fatiguing in games.
"The hamstring isn't damaged, it's fatiguing. It gets tight and sore and if he runs on it, there's a chance he'll rupture it. A fella like Andrew who runs so quickly means it's high risk to run on it. So we're just being careful and taking precautions. We could play him against Australia but he could fatigue again and we're worried he might break down."
- ON THE MIDFIELD BATTLE -
"Stirling Mortlock is a big player for Australia when he's in the middle of the park. A lot of good things happen around him. He's a very good footballer and a strong man. I've always admired him.
"When he went into the outside centre slot during the 2003 World Cup, it was the turning point for Australia, who went on to reach the final.
"On the other hand Brian (O'Driscoll) is a key man for us and it will be a very interesting head-to-head when they line up against each other."
- ON THE FORECASTED WEATHER -
"I hope the weather changes because I'd be happy to play this game in Australia where it would be dry. If it continues to rain it will be a kicking battle and although we might edge it out on the day, we won't be any wiser as to where we are.
"I'd rather we had a dry day and played a bit of rugby. It's very hard to play attacking rugby in wet weather. We might have an edge if it's wet but we're hoping it's not about that."
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