â00We had a rest on Monday and trimmed our planned 95-minute session today (Tuesday). The guys donâ00t need a lot of battle hardening at this time of the year. Thereâ00s no point in leaving your best form on the training ground.
"Murrayfield wasnâ00t a great performance by any means. What concerns me is that we made five clean line breaks and came out with only three points to our credit. Thatâ00s a killer.
"We gave away six penalties in kickable positions and conceded 18 points. Thatâ00s a killer. Some of those decisions were borderline but the lads should have been more careful - they got on the wrong side of the referee at the wrong time. The big positive was rolling up our socks and getting the job done after being five points down in the last ten minutes.â0
ON IRELAND'S APPROACH TO THE ITALIAN GAME:
"In terms of approaching the game we must be very careful. Rugby is the one game where if you enter a match with the mindset that we need to win by 20 or 30 points, there's a good chance you can lose by that margin.
"You can't have the expectation of racking up high scores. The most important thing to do on Saturday is win.
"If winning by one point is what happens against what people are beginning to see as a pretty good Italian side, then we'll be happy to get that result.
"If we get the win then we're back in the championship and it puts pressure on France and England. If we win by more then that's great but the amount we win by is a consequence of the performance. We have to get our head around winning.
"Last year there were possibilities of us winning on the last day. We were kicking off as the French game was finishing.
"We just went out and played and I didn't even tell the guys what the French score was - even though it was relevant."
ON IRELAND PLAYING FIRST AT 1.30PM:
"I don't feel hard done by because we're first up. In the modern game you can't expect to have three Test matches at the same time.
"It would be ludicrous - people like to watch the three games and they're entitled to see them live. We all know what the schedule was before the tournament kicked off.
"There'd be no point complaining about it now - I should have complained six months ago when it came out."
ON MARCUS HORAN'S CALF INJURY:
"He trained today but it's a grade one muscle strain which takes six to seven days (recovery), and it happened last Friday. That puts Marcus right on the cusp of whether he'll make it or not (this weekend). So, we'll give him until Friday before we make a decision."
ON PAUL O'CONNELL'S THUMB INJURY/MICK O'DRISCOLL'S CALL-UP:
"Paul had an operation on his thumb last night (Monday). We think he'll be out for four to five weeks, which will rule him out of the Heineken Cup quarter-final, but it gives him a chance of making the semi-finals.
"It wasn't until after the match that he felt sore. He saw a specialist yesterday and he decided last night it needed to be pinned. It's not a bad injury, it's a niggling one that isn't serious.
"It's one of those injuries you don't notice when your adrenaline is flowing.
"There's no point dancing on the fact he's a talisman for the team. He's a leader and hard to replace, but you have to give Mick some credit.
"Mick has been waiting in the wings and gets his chance now. He's an experienced campaigner so I have no concerns about playing him.
"Picking Mick ahead of Trevor (Hogan) has been the pecking order for the second row throughout the Six Nations. It made sense to allow Mick to step into the breach. It wasn't a difficult thing to do."
ON BRIAN O'DRISCOLL AND HIS SHOULDER KNOCK:
"Brian has been very lucky. I've looked at a tape of the game and he fell really awkwardly.
"Had he not had the shoulder pinned before in an operation it probably would have gone again, which is testament to the surgeon who did the operation.
"He was sore on Sunday morning but today he was in great shape."