Click here for quotes from Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan and captain Brian O’Driscoll at Wednesday’s team announcement press conference at the Killiney Castle Hotel.
…Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan sits down to face the media at the Killiney Castle Hotel in Dublin…
EDDIE O’SULLIVAN QUOTES:
– ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SUNDAY’S GAME –
“Next weekend would have been a pivotal game in the 6 Nations regardless of whether we had won or lost in Paris. It is the middle game and entering it with two wins as opposed to just one can define your 6 Nations – no matter whether you are England, France or Scotland.
“If we get a result on Sunday, then we go into the Scotland game with everything wide open for us. It is similar to two years ago when we lost in Paris, our second game was against Wales and then our middle game was against England.
“We beat England and that turned our championship in the right direction.”
– ON LOSING PAUL O’CONNELL TO INJURY –
“Paul is obviously a world class player. But I think we are fortunate as well now that we have two other world class locks in Malcolm O’Kelly and Donncha, who are both Lions – and then again, we have Mick O’Driscoll, a player who is playing superbly for Munster. So from a playing point of view, I think we are in good stead in that department.
“Paul has been a talisman in the team. We missed him in the autumn and is a hard man to replace.
“But there are other senior players in the squad such as Brian O’Driscoll and Simon Easterby. In a tournament like this you are rarely going to pick the same team each week, even if you wanted to. Injuries happen and you must deal with them.”
– ON ANDREW TRIMBLE’S SELECTION –
“Andrew getting in was just a selection issue. He came off the bench in Paris and did well. It’s a tough call on Tommy who hasn’t done too badly but Andrew is looking better in that position.
“I think Tommy is disappointed with himself. He’s not playing to the best of his ability but he’s still young.”
– ON THE CHALLENGE POSED BY WALES –
“There’s always a reaction from any team that has gone through a trauma such as a change of coach or a run of losses. It usually galvanises the team and pulls them together. They often bounce back stronger for it. Wales will want to show they’re as strong as ever. We don’t expect any favours from them. They’ll be more fired up than usual.
“The errors that we made in Paris were pretty expensive, and they were errors that you would hope never to make in games, like block downs and interceptions and stuff like that. But we have looked at how they came about – were we being too risky or were we just not giving ourselves a good platform to keep the ball? Nuts and bolts stuff you know, nothing too catastrophic.”
…Brian O’Driscoll at Wednesday’s training session in Bray…
BRIAN O’DRISCOLL QUOTES:
– ON WALES’ CURRENT STATE –
“It could be one of two things really. I don’t really look into it in too much depth to be honest, all we need to concentrate on is our own performance and our own game.
“If you cut out handing four tries away to any side I think you are going to give them a good game, particularly with the way we know we played in the second half (against France). I think if we can play somewhere along those lines we won’t be far away from the performance we want to put in, but it will have to be for 80 minutes.”
– ON WELSH CAPTAIN GARETH THOMAS’ ABSENCE –
“Anyone being struck down the way he (Thomas) has been is not a nice thing. The fact that I know Alfie’ reasonably well from (the Lions tour) last summer and having met up with him at the Six Nations launch, I looked forward to playing with him (for the Lions) and socialising with him after the game, because he is one of the real characters of the game and you always like to meet up with those guys.”
– ON GAVIN HENSON’S RETURN –
“We have got a meeting later on and we are all going to sign a big A4 card for him! Its been a tough season for Gavin, having been injured for so long, and then I guess he brought on the second part of his sabbatical himself.
“He’s back in the side, he’s obviously played well enough and is good enough to be in the Welsh 22, so if he comes on (as a sub), he will be treated exactly the same as any other Welsh player.”
– ON HIS OWN CURRENT FORM –
“It (The game against France) went okay – there were parts of it that I was pleased with. Some mistakes, like everyone else, that I need to cut out. A couple of loose passes, a turnover here and there and there were some good aspects to it as well. The fact that I got a more intense 75 minutes of rugby over there, hopefully that will stand to me.
“It was completely different to any style of rugby that I have played yet this season and I certainly knew about it on the day after.”