Click here for quotes from Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan at Tuesday’s team announcement press conference.
Eddie O’Sullivan fields questions at the Citywest Hotel
EDDIE O’SULLIVAN PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES:
– ON NEW CAPTAIN SIMON EASTERBY –
“Simon has been around the squad for a while – ever since 2000. He’s been a permanent fixture for most of that time, unless he’s been injured.
“He’s a slightly different leader to many of the other players. He’s a very quiet guy but is held in high esteem by the squad and leads by example. He doesn’t panic or lose his head under pressure.
“When he speaks people listen. Having someone of his experience and knowledge in this type of game is very important. He’s the right man for the job. I was happy to offer him the role. My only concern was his fitness (broken nose).
“We waited until the last minute today before we included him because we had to get medical clearance. Yesterday he had a scan and the specialist gave him the all clear. He’s been training this morning so he’s good to go and ready to play.”
– ON ANTHONY FOLEY’S EXCLUSION FROM THE SQUAD –
“Anthony (Foley) would have come in for a direct swap (if Simon was not fit). Anthony has been excellent again this season and is very unfortunate not to be in the team or the 22.
“He’s playing very well. But had Simon not made it Anthony would have been in there for his experience. He would also have been captain.”
– ON SATURDAY’S GAME –
“With the number of injuries to some of our big players, it makes it an even worse scenario for us.
“Even if we had a full team ready to go, it would still be a massive challenge.
– ON NEW ZEALAND’S 15 CHANGES –
“It’s a reflection of the strength of New Zealand that they can make so many changes for a Test game.
“I know they respect Ireland – of course they do. They know it’s going to be a tough game on Saturday.
“They (Graham Henry and his assistant Steve Hansen) must have every confidence in the team they’ve picked to win the game. We’d all like to be in a position where we could make 15 changes in our team week to week and still not lose any quality or strength.
“I think this New Zealand side is as good as any All Blacks side. They’ve just got phenomenal strength in depth. I think Graham is playing his cards very smartly here, in terms of keeping the squad fresh, keeping the guys motivated.
“I know they 15 guys who run out at Lansdowne Road on Saturday will certainly be firing on all cylinders.”
– ON THE PROSPECT OF IRELAND FANS REACTING TO THE SPEAR TACKLE THAT ENDED BRIAN O’DRISCOLL’S LIONS TOUR –
“I don’t think there’s any value in booing anyone on Saturday.
“You have two professional groups of athletes representing their country on an historic occasion. We haven’t played New Zealand that often in the past. I just hope it’s a good occasion and people enjoy the game.
“What happened on the Lions tour is over and done with. We’ve a game on Saturday and if we’re thinking about what happened five months ago, we’re not going to be thinking about the game.
“We’ve a job to do and a game to win and anything else isn’t going to help us. I think the crowd at Lansdowne Road is fantastic and they’ve really helped us.
“But, at the same time, these guys are professionals, going out to play a game of rugby. They shut the crowd out a lot.
“Great, when something happens and the crowd are on their feet, you get a tingle down your spine but that ain’t going to get the job done.”
**The Ireland squad trained on Tuesday afternoon at Clongowes Wood College in Naas, Co. Kildare due to “adverse weather conditions” at their usual training base at Terenure College**