23 May, 12:21
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.
ON THE FRENCH DEFEAT -
"I think the big thing we have to learn from this (defeat to France) is that we have to play for 80 minutes. Brian (O'Driscoll) coming back now as well gives Paul (O'Connell) more of a role in the forwards to control the ebb and flow of guys. He'll be able to get back into his role in there and make sure a late lapse like two weeks ago doesn't happen again."
ON ENGLAND AND THEIR MIDFIELD -
"Their 10, 12, 13 trio has worked quite well in defence and I've looked at it on video and it seems well organised there. Obviously we want to make their job as hard as possible. We'll look at a couple of things, but I think Jonny Wilkinson being back there gives them an added confidence in defence.
"He's an aggressive defender and he's really leading the line up and it makes the job of a 12 very easy, and Mike Tindall's playing probably the best rugby of his life, so Andy Farrell has got good guys around him, and I don't think they're protecting him in any way at all.
"I'll probably not look to go over him (Farrell), because he probably outweighs me by about three stone. But I'm playing some good rugby. Over the summer I sat down and decided that I'm never a player that's going to be running over guys.
"It's about getting quick feet, and I've gone backwards in weight and it seems to have worked."
ON THE CHALLENGE OF FACING ENGLAND -
"England are going well. They've had a change of management and Jonny Wilkinson's back in the team and they've two wins from two. They're on course for a Grand Slam and obviously their confidence is up.
"A lot of experienced, old heads have come back into the camp and they know exactly what it takes to win big games and they've proved that so many times down through the years.
"It's going to be very difficult, we'll be up against it but it's a challenge we're very much looking forward to."
ON RETAINING THE TRIPLE CROWN -
"That's never to be taking lightly. Obviously all the talk was about a Grand Slam, that's gone by the wayside but there's still a championship to be played for and a Triple Crown to be played for. These are big prizes and they're well worth playing for."
ON THE CROKE PARK FACTOR -
"That experience from playing there (at Croke Park) - we're over that hurdle. We know the surroundings and what it's like to play in front of 80,000-plus fans at home and that's a big obstacle out of the way. We'll just use that experience to help us now.
"Hopefully England will be the ones kind of stunned into a bit of awe (by the Croke Park atmosphere) and maybe we can get the start that France got against us and the start we need."
ON THE ENGLAND GAME -
"We were all deeply disappointed after the French game - being the first game at Croke Park, and especially because the dream of the Grand Slam is gone. The game this week couldn't have come quicker for us and we're all looking forward to it - it's chance for us to put things right.
"If called upon, I'll be looking forward to make a big impact and getting stuck in."
ON SATURDAY'S OPPOSITION -
"I think England have shown a bit more stability in the Six Nations this year. They've brought back a solid foundation. The first game (against Scotland) they were able to open up a bit and against Italy, when they just had to keep it tight and just grind out the win, they were able to do that.
"Whereas before, under their previous coach, I think they were under pressure to throw it around a bit and entertain, without getting the results. It is good for them, England are coming back now and it's going to be a tough game for us."
ON HOW IRELAND CAN IMPROVE -
"We didn't show half of what we can do (against France). That was the frustrating thing after the game, everyone knew we had a lot left in the tank and we never really got out of the blocks in the first 20 minutes. There's a lot of stuff we think we can bring to the game at the weekend and we'll be looking to set the tone high right from the kick-off.
"The squad is going well now. There's a very high standard - it's kind of a testament to the last couple of years with players coming through. I suppose the IRFU have to get a clap on the back for that.
"Rory's playing well and I'm just looking forward, if I get called in, to try and play well."
ON ENGLAND ATTACKING IRELAND'S PACK -
"We have got good forwards. England can try that (to attack through their forwards) and I am sure our coach Eddie (O'Sullivan) would be happy enough and the boys would be happy enough if they do that.
"We have got confidence in ourselves and I'm sure the supporters have confidence in our pack, particularly at home."
ON BEING SELECTED FOR BENCH DUTY -
"Eddie picks on form and Simon Easterby is playing better. Of course you are disappointed because it is nice to be involved in a starting capacity because you put in more and you feel more confident.
"But Simon is such a good player and so experienced so I should just be happy sitting where I am and to tell you the truth, I am. The only thing that gets me down is injury and I am not injured so I am not down."
ON THE HISTORY SURROUNDING THIS WEEK'S MATCH -
"It's a pretty exciting place to be. Coupled with the fact that we had a disappointing result against France, I think it makes it all the more important for us.
"Everyone's well aware of what's ahead of us. The most important thing is about getting the season back on track and to play for something, a bit of silverware - that's still there for us. It's important we stay focused on that.
"There is obviously a lot of hype around the historic day that it's going to be. We learnt to deal with that a bit later on in the French game but I think we dealt with it.
"It"s not like it's going to be new to us, I think we're over that sort of excitement of it. It's a matter of getting down to business and to brass tacks now and just getting the job done."
ON RECOVERING FROM THE FRENCH DEFEAT -
"It was one of the biggest disappointments we've suffered in a while and it's important we learn from it and move on and hope that we can rectify it on Saturday.
"They're obviously hurting from last year and Twickenham. They've set their sights on being championship contenders. They've their two opening wins. It's important we don't let them settle and get out of the blocks early ourselves."
ON WHAT IS UP FOR GRABS AGAINST ENGLAND -
"There's a huge amount to be played for. It's vital that we win this match. If we do, not only will we be putting ourselves in a position to win the championship but we'll also be taking points from England.
"We're aware of what's on the line at Croke Park. We have a good record against England but that won't affect them and we won't be using as a crutch going into the game."
ON FACING ENGLAND AT CROKE PARK -
"The atmosphere against France was fantastic and as long as we give the crowd something to shout about, that atmosphere will be great for England. Somehow I don't think the atmosphere for the England game will be a problem.
"We've forgotten about the France game and are starting afresh against England. It's a very big game and everyone's looking forward to it. Everyone is aware of the occasion and a lot has been made about the significance of the games but from our point of view, it's something you look back on afterwards.
"We don't have the luxury of thinking about it going into the game. England have won both of their games while we've already lost a home game, so there's a lot for us to concentrate on."
ON BRIAN O'DRISCOLL'S RETURN FROM INJURY -
"Brian has been fine, and has been fine all week. He was close to making the France game, so he was never going to be a doubt for England. With him back the combinations have a more settled look to them. Brian's return is a big bonus for us."