5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland U19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday 14th December has been announced.
AOF: The bar of public and media expectation has been set at three home wins and two competitive performances away to England and France. Do you think that is a fair and realistic expectation?
EOS:It is a realistic expectation. We've had a good home record at Lansdowne Road over the past few seasons and I think that the three home games are very winnable if we play up to scratch.
AOF: I was interested to see an article by Geordan Murphy last week saying that you surprised the lads with a night out they weren't expecting.
EOS: Off the pitch we do a lot of work, but at the same time you want fellows to enjoy themselves as well. It was just an opportunity to go out and enjoy themselves after a tough Christmas period. If you remember we cancelled a training camp after Christmas as well, so it was just to get fellas to relax a bit.
AOF: Turning to Saturday's game, what are the aspects of the Italians' game that would cause you most concern?
EOS: The Italians have this capacity to hold onto the ball for long periods, as we found out about last year in Rome. And they're such a physical side that it's quite demanding trying to get it back off them. That work can wear you out as the game goes on. Their set piece is very solid and then occasionally if you're half asleep they'll spin it and can catch you out wide. You've got to keep your head screwed on and know what you're doing in all situations.
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On Friday the Irish Rugby Supporters Club will be bringing members the first installment of the Ireland Squad Diary.
Featuring input from players, coaches, backroom and medical staff the diary will give a unique insight into life in camp and the preparations that go into getting the Ireland team ready for the games.
First up is Ireland Physiotherapist Cameron Steele. Seen here helping former Ireland International and Leinster player Eric Miller. Cameron is a graduate of the University of Ulster and has over ten years experience in the treatment of sports injuries, having previoulsy worked at NEC Harlequins.
Get into team base, The Fitzpatrick Castle hotel in Killiney. Ring around any players who picked up knocks in last weeks camp to get their opinion on training status for Monday. The physios of the UK based players are also contacted to check how they came through games and discuss any ongoing prehab work.
Groundhog day of yesterday. The only difference is the 22 being named. A few of the guys are understandably disappointed but do well not to show it.
Core stability training is much in vogue, and rightly so, but with these guys where the stakes are higher we try to make it more focused. I take a small group into the Pilates studio
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