EDDIE O'SULLIVAN QUOTES:
- ON REPORTS OF DAVID HUMPHREYS' IMPENDING RETIREMENT -
"I've known David Humphreys a long time and as far as I'm aware, he's a man of his word. I don't know who has led you astray on this one but I think you were led astray - unless David Humphreys is not a man of his word.
"I rang him this morning and he said 'it's the first I've heard about it' (with reference to an article in Tuesday's Irish Times that alleged that Humphreys would be retiring from Test rugby after the current 6 Nations). He's made no decision and he'll talk to me after the 6 Nations, like we agreed.
"I think that's a sensible approach. He loves his rugby, he loves playing for Ireland, but he's got a tough decision to make. He's been away from his family (wife Jane and three children) for a long time.
"We've talked about the affect it would have on his family if he decides to go ahead and play in another World Cup. It would be a huge commitment for him. I certainly don't want to rush him into a decision.
"We've balanced David's time (with the squad) because of his family. We didn't bring him to the Christmas training camp in Lanzarote. I sent him home this week on Sunday night because he's going to Scotland on Thursday for a Celtic League game.
"I've always had a good rapport with him and tried to allow him to balance his life. He's the guy in the squad who'd be under more pressure as he has young kids."
- ON IRELAND'S OTHER POTENTIAL FLY HALVES -
"The obvious two guys are Jeremy (Staunton), who is in the 6 Nations squad so he's a contender, and Paddy Wallace, who has been on the 'A' team. There's not really any contenders in Connacht or Leinster because overseas players are in their number 10 shirts - Paul Warwick and Felipe Contepomi. I'd want the guy to be playing for his club in the (fly half) position.
"Last Saturday, I thought ROG (Ronan O'Gara) played well, apart from the block downs. After the second block down I wanted to see how he'd react. And he upped his game. He had a couple of big mistakes, but otherwise, I thought he had a fine game.
"It would have been easy for him to go into himself after those mistakes, but he actually got better as the game went on."
- ON PAUL O'CONNELL'S SHOULDER INJURY -
"Paul (O'Connell) hasn't ruled out playing (against Wales) - not at all. He's getting day-to-day treatment. There has been improvement but it's a day-to-day thing. The medics are saying it's too early to call it so we'll make a decision next week."
"In Paul's case, you could leave it as late as you could. He's a key member of the team, the pack leader and playing great stuff at the moment, so you'd like to give him every opportunity. It would be foolish to rule him out out before you have to - he's one of our star performers."
- REFLECTIONS ON THE PARIS PERFORMANCE -
"There were a number of phenomenal performances by some of the players in Paris. The work rate of some of the forwards was astronomical.
"People who got criticised, the likes of John Hayes - he had a monster of a game (he hit 37 rucks). People should go back and watch the video, I thought he had a fine game and the same applies to Denis Leamy and David Wallace.
"Leamy was involved in 28 contacts - that's off the Richter scale in a game of Test rugby, 14 or 15 would be the norm. Wallace hit 27 rucks and put in 14 tackles. (Simon) Easterby hit 33 rucks."
"(Replying to a question that Simon Easterby is seen by some critics as having been anonymous in recent games, O'Sullivan said) That's nonsense in my view. People claim I have a bias towards Simon Easterby because he played in under-age teams that I coached, but if that was the case, it would apply to a number of others as well.
"Simon Easterby is one of the most respected back rows in world rugby. He proved that on the Lions tour and he's a world class tail-of-the-line jumper. The suggestion that we go into a Test match without a third lineout jumper defies logic."