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Ireland to Make Amends

Ireland to Make Amends

03/03/02.A chance today for Ireland to exorcise, to some degree, the ghost of Twickenham. A good performance against the Scots is paramount. Mike Ford makes a case for the defence.

It didn’t need a rocket scientist to see that our defence collapsed against England and because of that the spotlight shifted from the players to new defensive coach Mike Ford. Speaking to RTE’s Michael Corcoran, Ford admitted to reaching a fairly low point after that game. “It was a pretty bad time right enough but I’m still here. I suppose you always expect a team to back somewhat from the system you’ve put in place but I certainly didn’t expect them to go back so far. They knew what I wanted them to do but after Johnny Wilkinson’s first break they reverted back to what they knew best and that natural enough”.

“The good thing was that when we met on Wednesday the players put their hands up. The said, fair enough we didn’t do what we were asked, if we don’t understand then we’ve got to learn. They accepted that they did the total opposite to what they’d been asked and that’s great because now we can move forward.”

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“It’s not all down to the players. I looked at thevideo to see what I did wrong for the England game. Defence is so technical and we have still miles to go. It takes a while.

When Phil Larder went to the England squad for the first time, I think he lasted two games. He had to go to Leicester to gain respect or at least for his technique to gain respect. Now he’s firmly entrenched in the England camp.”

“It should be remembered they (England) are well down this road. We are probably 15 levels behind them, but they’ve the best defence in the world right now.”

So today Ireland will attempt to carry out the Ford clinic schedule and shore up a defence that leaked six tries to the English. It worked for them against Wales and now, having been back to the drawing board, Ireland will be exexpected to deliver a much meaner defensive performance.

Ireland: Girvan Dempsey; Shane Horgan, Brian O’Driscoll, Kevin Maggs, Denis Hickie; David Humphreys, Peter Stringer, Peter Clohessy, Frank Sheahan, John Hayes, Mick Galwey capt, Malcolm O’Kelly, Eric Miller, David Wallace, Anthony Foley.

Replacements: Shane Byrne, Paul Wallace, Gary Longwell, Simon Easterby, Guy Easterby, Ronan O’Gara, John Kelly.

Scotland: Brendan Laney; Chris Paterson, James McLaren, Andrew Henderson, Glenn Metcalfe; Gregor Townsend, Bryan Redpath (c); Tom Smith, Gordon Bulloch, Mattie Stewart; Stuart Grimes, Scott Murray; Andrew Mower Jason White Simon Taylor.

Replacements: George Graham, Martin Leslie, Jon Petrie, Graeme Beveridge, Duncan Hodge, Kenny Logan, Robbie Russell

Referee: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales).

TJ’s: Steve Lander (Eng) & Joel Jutge (Fra).