EDDIE O'SULLIVAN: QUOTES
- ON THE TEAM SELECTION/FITNESS -
"I had to think about Neil (Best) versus Alan Quinlan, but Donncha (O'Callaghan) was the obvious choice at lock, despite the fact that Mick O'Driscoll has been outstanding throughout this season. Mick has certainly played himself into third ranking for the position and is on the bench.
"Alan's lack of game-time was a factor. He has made a very good comeback from a serious injury, but he is still probably not at 100%. Yet, being on tour will help him and he has come on leaps and bounds in the last week. Unfortunately, this game has come a week too early for him."
"Physically we're fairly fresh; we put a lot of effort into managing affairs at home, with co-operation from the provinces - getting guys right and giving them down time or figuring out when they should play. It's a good place for us at the moment, and I'm happy with the mood in the camp. It's a great opportunity the reverse the fortunes of the autumn."
- ON NEIL BEST'S INCLUSION AT BLINDSIDE FLANKER -
"Neil has played brilliantly for Ulster this season, so he's in there on merit as well. Like Alan (Quinlan), he gives us some more options in the lineout. It gives us a bit of balance in that area, but he is also a good player around the pitch. He carries the ball well and likes to make his presence felt.
"Neil has been one of the talismen in the Ulster pack, and I'm sure he will be formidable for us as well. The game out here should suit him."
- ON OUT-HALF COVER FOR THE FIRST TEST -
"He (Girvan Dempsey) has been working very hard on that aspect (goal-kicking) of his game lately and he gives us an extra option given that Jeremy (Staunton) isn't in the squad. Geordan Murphy will cover the number 10 position."
- ON BEATING NEW ZEALAND -
"It's an Everest we are all trying to climb and if you could do it away from home it would be even sweeter. It's a tall order but we know if we get things right on Saturday we'll go very close. If we don't, we'll get a spanking for our troubles like we did in the autumn.
"I'm quite positive at the moment - I've every reason to be positive.
"I've always thought New Zealand is a hostile rugby environment, and I say hostile in the best possible way.
"You're playing a team that by and large is always the best team in the world and who understand the game very well. And if you play badly against them, or show weakness against them, you are treated cruelly."