…Andy Crawford On His Presidency…O’Kelly: Teams Don’t Like Coming To Lansdowne…Club Players Have Something To Aim For – McCarter…Southwell: We’re Focused On Bettering Away Record…
…Current IRFU President Andy Cawford (right) with his predecessor Barry Keogh last June…
IRFU PRESIDENT ANDY CRAWFORD (Belfast Telegraph): “It (The IRFU Presidency) is a big demand on my time, over the season I will attend around 100 functions. But it is a tremendous honour and there are other things to do other than going to games. You meet different people from different walks of life.
“We (The IRFU) are very close to the Golfing Union of Ireland, the FAI and the GAA and I meet those Presidents on a regular basis. I’ve been to different embassies, the British twice, the Australian and French embassies. Time doesn’t matter. You get one year and you give it your all and you do all you can.”
“(I’ve had a remarkable record in my time as President) I have been at 22 club games so far this season and have had a tremendous reception everywhere I go. And in each of those 22 games, the home side has won!”
“One of the nicest days I had this year was in early January, when the four home union Presidents were invited to London for the Royal Navy Rugby Union’s centenary. It was a fantastic experience. We took a boat trip down the Thames and out to sea and onto a frigate. There was proper function with a meal, speeches and bands and we were introduced to players from the Royal Navy throughout the world and the First Sea Lord (Admiral Sir Jonathon Band).
“This weekend I will be meeting Princess Anne and I have also met the President of France and the President of the Olympic committee.”
IRELAND LOCK MALCOLM O’KELLY (Press Association): “I’ve had some great wins at Lansdowne Road and I’ve enjoyed playing there. Teams have got to the point where they don’t like coming to Lansdowne Road. They’re afraid of the elements and apprehensive of what might happen when they get there.
“I don’t think there’s a team who likes playing there except Ireland. The decrepit condition of the place makes it worse for visiting teams while the familiarity of that is comforting for us. We’ll miss it.”
IRELAND CLUB TEAM ASSISTANT COACH GERALD MCCARTER (Belfast Telegraph): “I think it is a good concept (the AIB Club International) as it gives the club players something to aim for. Although this is a once off game (Ireland v Scotland) it could grow in the future. It with give players the opportunity to shine and it could act as a stepping stone for them.
“We picked a large squad back in October and have had a few training sessions and we had a session in Dublin at the weekend. Although it is an amateur game it’s a high level, and it will be very competitive and hard (at Donnybrook).”
SCOTLAND FULL-BACK HUGO SOUTHWELL (Daily Record): “The key chat this week from Frank (Hadden) and the senior players is that we haven’t yet performed to scratch on the road, although events of the Wales game when we went down to 14 men didn’t allow for that.
“Our away record is something we’ve been focusing on this week and being able to perform on the road is purely a mental barrier we must get over. Our home form has been brilliant recently and is something on which we can build confidence.
“However, we also want to build on a run of results and form away from Murrayfield as we can’t just be judged on how we do at home. Specifically, the difference from playing at home and on the road is the crowd factor and the strength of a home support can never be underestimated.
“The crowd at Murrayfield for the England game was the biggest I’ve ever played in front of and the noise and atmosphere they generated was unbelievable.
“This week we will play in front of a partisan Irish support who are pretty vociferous when things are going well for their team. We’ve got to make sure, especially in the early stages of the game, we stop them at source, just as we did against England.”