…O’Sullivan Backs “Smart Footballer” Campbell…Cullen’s “Element Of Risk” In England…Lenihan: Time To “Re-Invigorate The Spark” Of 2004…Bowe: Putting Those Small Opportunities Away…
Scrum-half Kieran Campbell – who makes his first start for Ireland against Romania on Saturday
EDDIE O’SULLIVAN ON KIERAN CAMPBELL (BBC Sport): “Kieran is a very confident half-back. He doesn’t have a lot of experience but he’s grown into the position.
“He spent some time on the wing while at London Irish which might have helped his career. He’s very quick, strong and a very smart footballer.”
“Kieran scored a phenomenal try (against Stade Francais) in the Heineken Cup last season. He knows what he’s doing and has played with David Humphreys, so that will help him.
“This is another step along the ladder for him – he went on the tour to Japan and did very well.”
LEO CULLEN ON PLAYING IN ENGLAND (Irish Independent): “People don’t know much about you over there (in Leicester), and you have to win their support. There’s definitely no room for complacency.
“It’s a hard environment to be in. Martin Johnson has retired but the competition in the second row is very tough with Ben Kay, Louis Deacon and a very good young player Jim Hamilton.”
“(Playing away from Ireland) I suppose your Irish situation could be affected a little bit on the basis that you are not seen as much. Obviously, Eddie (O’Sullivan) and Niall (O’Donovan) do go and see games in England, but, there is an element of risk as to when you are seen.
“When I decided to make the move I did it because I thought the time was right for me. I’ve no complaints. My target is to get into the 2007 World Cup squad, but I know there’s fierce competition for places. Whatever happens, happens.”
FORMER IRELAND LOCK AND MANAGER DONAL LENIHAN (Irish Examiner): “The challenge now is to re-invigorate the spark that was so evident with this Irish back line up to 2004. That period was characterised by the inhibitions of youth when Ireland attacked regularly from first phase with a high degree of success.
“Sometimes, the older and more experienced a player gets, the more he becomes aware of the pitfalls. This has the effect of curtailing the level of ambition. To me, Ireland seems frozen in that position at present. It hasn’t helped that the effectiveness of Ireland’s set piece has diminished during this period.
“If the game against Romania is to serve any purpose then let it be to re-ignite the spirit of invention and see players playing with a smile on their face. That, more than anything, may provide the best preparation for the challenges that lie ahead.”
TOMMY BOWE ON HIS AUTUMN RUN (Irish Mirror): “For myself to start all three games it’s a great experience and a taste of what top level of rugby is like. It also gives me the taste of defeat to these major teams and it’s something that gives me a bit more hunger to go out there next time, because we know we can compete against them.
“It’s up to me to keep progressing and never be afraid to keep learning.”
“The defeats have been fairly disappointing. From a team perspective, we were looking to get an awful lot more out of it but while we’re expected to win this week (against Romania), we’re looking for a good performance.
“It’s a case this week of putting those small opportunities away and turning it into a positive match for us.”