The countdown to the eagerly-awaited permanent tsb International between Ireland and Australia continued on Friday as Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan talked to the press.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES:
- ON AUSTRALIA'S TWO NEW CAPS -
"Australia have gone in at the deep end with these guys (props Greg Holmes and David Fitter). They're not high in experience but Eddie (Jones) must feel they're up to it if he's put them in the Test team. I don't think Australia will be weakened by them.
"They will bring a lot of enthusiasm and we don't know a lot about them. In terms of carrying the football they are meant to be strong around the pitch.
"The scrum will be interesting. It's an area we'll test but our whole gameplan is not about dominating at the scrum. You have to have more strings to your bow than that. But if you do get an ascendancy there you'd be foolish not to take it.
"Marcus (Horan) and John (Hayes) are professionals and won't start pulling cartwheels because they're playing against new players. Their mission is to execute the scrum well. Maybe these two young guys will play out of their skin and shut everybody up."
- ON THE PRESSURES OF THE JOB -
"You're always under the pressure in this job. It's a job based on results.
"We've lost one game this season and we've ten more to go so I'm hopeful that our record at the end of the season will be pretty good.
"I can only take one game at a time, and all I can do is prepare the team. It's another tough one this week. It's game that they (Australia) want to win badly, and it's a game we want to win badly, so that does heighten the intensity.
"At the end of the day, it's just another game that we have to go out and win.
"We're both disappointed after last weekend (- Australia lost 26-16 to England -), and that brings a certain edge to the game, but at this moment in time, I can only worry about tomorrow. It's another game we have to win."
- ON THE RESULT OF THE MA'A NONU TACKLE CITING -
( - The IRB did not punish New Zealand centre Ma'a Nonu after his apparent spear tackle on Gordon D'Arcy in last weekend's Test. The IRB judical offer Judge Wyn Williams ruled that Nonu did not drive D'Arcy into the ground when tackling the Irish centre -)
"Like most people at the moment, I'm confused.
"It would appear that the penalty for killing a ruck, which is a yellow card, is more harsh than turning a player upside down and dropping him on his head.
"If you look at it in that context, it's hard to know what to tell the players. One is quite harmless, whereas another is quite dangerous. It is confusing.
"I did say last week after the match that it's not something we want to see in the game. And to his credit, Graham Henry also said that. But you have to wonder what the players will take out of this, now that nothing happened.
"It's been deemed that a penalty was the appropriate action, but because of what we were told at the start of the season, I'm a bit confused by the outcome (of the Nonu case).
"I don't want to be judgmental about this. I just want to say that maybe we're sending out a mixed message here in relation to the severity of the punishments."
- ON THE ENFORCED CLOSURE OF THE NORTH TERRACE -
"Last week (against New Zealand) the crowd were outstanding, even though we didn't give them a lot to cheer about. But when we did take the game to New Zealand, I thought there was a huge buzz in the stadium.
"I don't think it (the closure of the North Terrace) affected the atmosphere. It was just weird looking down there and not seeing anybody in the stand. So, it was the view more than the noise."
- ON MEDIA REPORTS THAT IRELAND MIGHT PLAY THEIR SIX NATIONS FIXTURES AT CROKE PARK -
"It's really not for me to get into that. I've always said that we'd love to play at Croke Park, but that decision has to go through other channels.
"Croke Park is a fantastic venue, and it would be great to play there. But if that time comes, it comes, but, for now, I don't really want to get involved in saying when it should happen.
"It's not really for me to say. Whenever we get there, and please God we will - then we'll talk about it."