Click here for quotes from Australia’s new cap David Fitter, head coach Eddie Jones and assistant coach Alan Gaffney at Thursday’s team announcement press conference.
David Fitter, Eddie Jones and Alan Gaffney face reporters at Thursday’s press conference at the Westbury Hotel
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES:
– ON BEING INCLUDED IN THE SIDE TO FACE IRELAND –
“I’m pretty excited and pretty amazed to be here.
“It’s been a long road and I’ve worked pretty hard. There’s still a lot of work to go and I’m just really grateful for the opportunity really.
“We did a lot of work this week, a lot of preparation – As Eddie (Jones) said today’s (Thursday’s_ session culminated into one of our best scrimmaging sessions, so I’m looking forward to bringing that on to the field on Saturday.
“My philosophy in rugby is to make sure I keep improving every year and as long as that happens, I am happy to keep playing.
“We worked very hard this week, as well as in previous camps, we’ve ironed out technical issues and we’re confident of going well on Saturday.”
– ON THE TASK OF BEATING IRELAND –
“Ireland will be much better prepared this weekend than they were last week. It was their first game of the season and the All Blacks probably caught them a little on the hop.
“At Lansdowne Road the first thing you have to do is get stuck in physically. It’s all very nice in Dublin now – people are offering to get you a Guinness, it’s all about what a good bloke Alan Gaffney is, it’s all sweet as pie – but we know on Saturday it’ll be the exact opposite.
“There will be elbows and fists and knees flying everywhere – we’ve got to get stuck in and we will. We’ve got a young pack and they are looking forward to getting stuck in.”
– ON THE FRONT ROW BATTLE –
“It’s going to be a very experienced Ireland front row with two Lions players on Saturday and we’ve got two guys who have played 20 minutes of Test rugby between them. But that is what test rugby is about and that is what developing players is about.
“The average number of caps in our side is 23, so it’s a very young team. But there is plenty of enthusiasm and it’s a good chance for us on Saturday to step forward.”
– ON DEBUTANT PROPS GREG HOLMES AND DAVID FITTER –
“Matt Dunning is not available for selection so Greg Holmes steps up to the mark. He’s a good young player. It’s a big ask for him, but I believe he has the potential to go for it.
“Greg’s got an opportunity to be fast-tracked. He’s a kid who has played just four or five Super 12 games and he’s going to be a good young player. This is a quicker opportunity than we though we’d be exposing him to, but he’s enthusiatic, he’s young and he’s fit.
“David is a very strong scrummaging tight-head prop. We obviously had problems in that area against England so we feel that he could scrumage pretty well against (Marcus) Horan.”
– ON DROPPING CHRIS WHITAKER FROM THE TEST SQUAD –
“(Reserve scrum-half) Chris Whitaker has done extremely well on tour and it was a tough call to make, but we feel it’s time to give (Matt) Henjak an opportunity. He has worked very hard, both on and off the field, and thoroughly deserves his chance on Saturday.”
– ON BEING BACK IN IRELAND –
“I’m loving it (being based in Australia again), having been away for five years. But I am really enjoying being back in Ireland and seeing a number of people. I’d love to be spending a bit more time socially, but unfortunately I just don’t have time.
“I keep in touch with a lot of the guys through text or email. We keep in contact on a fairly regular basis. I’m aware of what happens every week and I follow things on Planet Rugby. I still stay very much abreast of what’s happening.”
– ON IRELAND V AUSTRALIA –
“It’s a very important game as far as we are concerned. Obviously five of the sevens games we have lost have been away from home – but that’s not an excuse.
“We have played good sides, but to lose seven on the trot is disappointing.
“We are under pressure, but we can only go out and do the best we can. We have just got to get a little more precise in what we do and that includes both the coaching and playing staff.”