24 May, 14:08
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
"Sunday's was such a bad performance that I feel the team needs another game together. Had we hit the ground running in the first game, there might have been more wriggle room in terms of giving other players a run but I think that team needs to play together again.
"I wasn't in the mood for slashing and burning because of a bad performance like that. We're a better team than that. In the past when the players have come up short, I've backed them and given them a vote of confidence to get it right.
'And they've always repaid that vote of confidence. I didn't see the logic of changing that approach this time. If you create an environment where a player gets dumped after one bad performance, you don't build any confidence in the squad. We're trying to build confidence, not erode it.
"The players are aware it was a bad performance and they have a chance to fix it. We've had bad performances before and haven't reacted by making lots of changes.
"I've known most of the players for a number of years. They were very disappointed, upset and angry with what they delivered against Namibia. I want them to put it right.
"In 2002 we got 'hockeyed' by England at Twickenham and there were a lot of people thinking there should be a slash and burn job on selection.
"I told the players they're not as bad as that and they proved me right by beating Scotland handsomely (the next day out). We've done this before."
ON INJURIES IN THE SQUAD:
"Andrew Trimble picked up a bruised finger in the game against Namibia and we've discovered that he has a slight fracture at the very tip of his finger, which will probably rule him out for a week.
"Shane (Horgan) took part in the full contact session so he's chomping at the bit at the moment. The target was always the Georgia game for Shane so he would have played even if Andrew hadn't been injured.
"Marcus (Horan) got a bang on the ribs against Namibia but he also took a full part in training and he's fine."
ON UNUSED PLAYERS GETTING A CHANCE TO PLAY:
"It's hard on the guys who haven't been involved (so far). We have to keep them competitive. Of course there is a mental difficulty knowing they won't start the game. But they never know what doors will open.
"Andrew Trimble went to Edinburgh for last month's warm-up match against Scotland to carry the bags but ended up starting the game because Shane Horgan was injured in the warm-up.
"It's a funny business. You have to be ready to do yourself justice and make the case that you should have been there all along.
"It's a good test for a player to be able to do that. It's a challenge for the squad - and you can become stronger or weaker.
"It's not easy for them but it's not dissimilar from a Six Nations scenario where we pick a squad of 30 and every Tuesday we send eight of them home.
"I think it's very early to be hanging any labels around their necks. I know fellas will be disappointed but they're made of sterner stuff and I've spoken to them individually and explained what we're doing. You'd like to go to a World Cup and play everybody.
"But there are no guarantees coming out in the World Cup. I could have made a lot of changes based on that performance but I think that would send the wrong message."
ON THE SIX NATIONS TEAMS' POOR START TO THE WORLD CUP:
"The Six Nations sides have hardly played since March whereas all of the Southern Hemisphere teams have played throughout the summer.
"They have had a summer of rugby whereas we haven't had and we've had to put all our eggs in one basket preparing for the World Cup.
"If we were to play games during the summer in preparation for a World Cup that's fine, but the problem is that by May or April the players are running on empty.
"You just can't kick on during a summer. The Northern Hemisphere sides all took the same route here by resting players during the summer tours. We've all struggled out of the blocks with maybe Scotland the one exception.
"England, Italy, Wales and ourselves have had a tough time so far. But New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have started well after coming in off the back of the Tri-Nations."