Click here for quotes from Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan and captain Brian O’Driscoll from Tuesday’s press conference at the Killiney Castle Hotel in Dublin.
…Eddie O’Sullivan answers questions at Tuesday’s press conference…
EDDIE O’SULLIVAN QUOTES:
– ON HIS TEAM SELECTION –
“I was happy with our performance (against Scotland) last weekend. I thought it was probably our best 80 minutes of the championship, so there was no reason to change things.
“But I would like us to play with more width. Hopefully, the conditions will be better and we’ll be able to keep the ball in hand more. We’ll also want to keep our standards at the set piece as high as they were against Scotland.
“Last week, I thought we dominated possession and territory, but maybe didn’t rack up enough points. So we know that when we get the opportunities this weekend we’re going to have to take them.”
– ON THE CHANGES TO THE ENGLAND TEAM –
“It’s certainly a lot of changes (seven) to make at one swoop. Obviously, Andy (Robinson) believes that the team needs something different. I’m sure the guys who are still there will be grateful, and they guys who are coming in, will be anxious to justify their selection.
“There’s no major surprise in that (Andy Goode partnering Harry Ellis at half-back). The question was – would he give the team a vote of confidence, or would he make changes? Whatever way he went, he is obviously going to get a better display. I would expect a huge performance from them.
“You can start over-reading things though. The bottom line for us is that we have to bring our ‘A’ game to Twickenham if we are to win – it doesn’t matter what team they put out.”
– ON IRELAND’S TASK AT TWICKENHAM –
“It would be a first for Ireland to go to Twickenham as favourites to beat England. There’s no point in thinking about the championship because it’s outside of our control. We’ll focus on what is within our control and a Triple Crown would be a very nice way to finish the campaign.
“When you win in a place like Twickenham, as we did two years ago, you realise it can be done. We know the English players well – we know them on a personal level too having toured with many of them with the Lions last summer. We meet them in the Heineken cup and we beat them last year at Lansdowne Road so there is no fear factor.
“That might have been the case years ago but I don’t believe it exists now. It doesn’t make the job any easier but it does mean if we get our ducks in a row, we can win it.
“It’s about getting the performance we need. I keep repeating it but it has to be a top performance. We’ve had some very good performances against top team in recent years but never won any of them by more than one score. There were watersheds against Australia and South Africa, and the two against England, but all those games went down to the wire and we played out of our skin. If we’re going to win on Saturday, it’s going to take a hell of a performance.”
…Brian O’Driscoll talks to the press at the Killiney Castle Hotel…
BRIAN O’DRISCOLL QUOTES:
– ON ENGLAND –
“Now that England are back at home, now that they have made the changes, I’m sure they’re going to come out with an guns blazing. They will be looking to up their performance (from last week in Paris) by 20 or 30 per cent and they have a number of different players in the team who will want to make a difference.
“Their defeat to France can work both ways. It can work against us because they will want to use the game to prove themselves. Equally, it might unsettle England. I don’t think I can say until half five on Saturday whether the result in Paris is good or bad news for us.
“Andy Robinson obviously feels now is the time for the changes. Given what has happened in the championship so far, I suppose it’s fair to assume that he doesn’t want to wait until next season to have a further look at the players he might want in next year’s World Cup.
“Still, I wouldn’t look upon this necessarily as an experimental team. All of these guys have been involved in one way or another over the last couple of seasons. They will know how England function – how they want to function – and they will be so keen to address the problems from Paris.”
– ON IRELAND’S BACK LINE –
“We’ve been disappointed with some aspects of our play in every game (so far), but I think we got it together out wide against the French and showed our potential.
“I’m excited to be involved in such a high quality back division – we have spurned opportunities in the last couple of games, but as least we’ve been creating them and that’s the important thing. At this level though, you’ve got to take the chances when they come along. I don’t think we’re far away from doing that, and I would back this back line against anyone.
“I would prefer to be involved in our back line than in the English back line. That’s not stirring things up, it’s just the way I think things are. We have, potentially, a really world class back line, but it’s a question of going out and proving it.”
– ON HIS OWN FORM –
“I’ve been pretty happy with my own form. There hasn’t been a huge amount of space towk work in in the games to date and where there hasn’t been space for myself – I’ve tried to create some for others.
“With regards to the general basics, I’ve been relatively pleased. Like the team as a whole, you can’t push the issue, some days it’s there for, some days it’s not. In the last four games, there hasn’t been a huge amount of space. Maybe it opened up in the second half of the French game and we took advantage, but, other than that, defences have been very much on top in the competition.
“The most important thing of all is not to let the frustration get the better of you.”