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News article – Style E 3392

News article – Style E 3392

It seems England coach Clive Woodward was none too impressed with the pre-match shenanigans in Murrayfield on Saturday

Ireland’s destruction of Wales’ pretensions
to Grand
Slam glory has put them in the right frame of mind to cause world
England a lot of trouble at Twickenham in a fortnight’s time, coach
claimed after the latest round of RBS Six Nations matches.

While England handler Clive Woodward garnered another victory
– 35-13 –
over the hapless Scots on Saturday, he seemed more preoccupied with
the live
pop music that was played before the teams came out on to the pitch
judging by the Irish barnstorming 36-15 victory against the Welsh he
concentrate his mind with matters on the pitch.
“We should be careful this is a sport not a pop
concert,” said the recently
ennobled knight of the realm perhaps forgetting that 60,000 or so
were there to be entertained as well prior to the match.

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“We are here to play a rugby match not sing songs,”
added the former
stylish England back.

His Irish counterpart O’Sullivan, though, was able to focus on the
matter in hand and having seen his side run in six tries he could
positively at visiting Fortress Twickenham.
“It was a good performance for 60 minutes but sloppy for the
last 20,” said
the 45-year-old.

“We had had to make some changes which unsettled us but
overall I am very
If we’d lost, it would have been a setback but now we’ve got some
going to Twickenham.

“Hopefully we’ll get another six tries against England!”
joked O’Sullivan.

The Irish, though, will hope to have their new centres partnership
talismanic captain Brian O’Driscoll, 25, and 24-year-old Gordon

reunited for the England match as once the latter had to go off with
a back
injury the Irish lost their momentum.

However O’Driscoll indicated with a two-try performance on his
return from
injury that the English could be in for another dynamic display from
the man
labelled the best centre in the world.
“It was hugely important to win – there was a lot to be said
about it being
make or break for our Six Nations. Now we can go over to Twickenham
with some
confidence,” said O’Driscoll, whose two tries took him to 23 in
his career and
second on the all-time list of Irish tryscorers.

All Black great and former captain Sean Fitzpatrick was left
impressed by the Irish performance, though he said they should have
won by more.
“The Irish pack treated the Welsh one with contempt,” he

Whether they can repeat such a feat against the English juggernaut
another matter but the boost of putting Wales’s renaissance – yet
another one
– and ridiculing the belief that the Irish were a spent force, could

For the Welsh it is a case of rebounding from the shock of losing
so badly
and the simple task of beating France!
However the way the French underperformed against the Italians in
Paris in
their 25-0 victory on Saturday should give the Welsh hope and as
their stand-in
captain Martyn Williams said, they as a squad, have been through a few
demoralising defeats and survived.
“Of course we can raise our game for the French as we’ve been
through a lot
We knew as a side we weren’t a finished article but it takes
time to get
there and yes it’s a setback,” said Williams, who was standing
in for the
injured Colin Charvis.

Charvis is essential to Wales being able to counter the threat of
stunning French backrow whose youngest member Imanol Harinordoquy
scored a
brace of tries in the victory over Italy.

France manager Jo Maso was frank about how important the trip to
Wales on
March 7th would be.
“It will tell us how far this young side has
progressed,” said the former
great French back.

Meanwhile the two sides vying for the wooden spoon, Scotland and Italy
take each
other on in Rome and the hosts’ coach John Kirwan is adamant that he
sees this
match as a must win for his side.
“If we can win more lineout ball and have 50% of
possession then I
think the victory over Scotland is doable,” said the 39-year-old
former All Black legend.

Scotland coach Matt Williams’ induction into international rugby
could hardly have been worse – two played and two defeats – but the
Aussie saw
reason to be optimistic after the England defeat.
“There’s no such thing as a good loss. We are all gutted
because we could
and should have done better but we are also very proud and
delighted we have
taken the first step.

“They earned a better scoreline but rugby doesn’t always do
the right thing
that way.”

Williams will hope that the reverse is the case next time against
Italians otherwise the wooden spoon looms, the Irish on the other
hand will be
looking to deprive the English of what they took from them last year
– the
Grand Slam.

The champagne corks would be popping in the Irish dressingroom and
some pop music being played – though hopefully not in Woodward’s