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Countdown To Rome: One Day To Go

Countdown To Rome: One Day To Go

…Eddie O’Sullivan Quotes…Brian O’Driscoll Quotes…Match Profile – David Wallace…Say What?…Numbers Game…

EDDIE O’SULLIVAN QUOTES: Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan admitted how difficult it has become, over the years, to get a result in Italy at Friday’s pre-match press conference at the team hotel in Rome.

“Italy will come into the game looking to have their best Six Nations championship of all time. If Italy can win, they’ll have three wins out of five, which would be a phenomenal step forward.

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“It would really put down a marker heading towards the World Cup, and they have an awful lot to play for,” commented the Corkman.

“We have always had difficult games here. I’ve never left Rome after a Six Nations match and said we’ve had an easy game. They’ve always been very tough. We’ve won them, but it was bloody hard to get the result, and it’s getting harder to come here and get a result, as Wales have found.

“You go in with your game plan to exploit what will be Italy’s weaknesses and there’s nothing new in that, in the same way that they’ve probably targeted areas of our game.

“I think you have to roll up your sleeves and get on with the job, you have to get the grunt work done, you’ve got to make the hard yards, make the big tackles and that gives you the platform to go on and win the game.”

BRIAN O’DRISCOLL QUOTES: Ahead of a record 37th game as Ireland captain, Brian O’Driscoll gave his thoughts to the media at Friday’s pre-match press conference.

“Obviously the championship was thrown wide open last weekend and if the game was played (yesterday), we’d be playing in incredible conditions. Hopefully it will be similar (today),” he said.

“You want to play in the most pressurised situations, in front of the biggest crowds, with as much support as you possibly can have with something to play for. And that’s all thrown into the equation here, which makes it so exciting.”


Club: Garryowen; Province: Munster
Born: July 8, 1976
Height: 6ft 2in; Weight: 15st 6lbs
37th cap – 7 tries = 35 points
Debut: v Argentina, 2000
Fourth Test v Italy = no points

* Returned v Italy in opening Six Nations match of 2006, he had previously played only once in 13 internationals – against Japan in 2005 – since the 2004 summer tour. Had been injured

* Played 10 of Ireland’s 11 Tests in 2006 – was rested against the Pacific Islanders. He was recalled in 2006 after fine form in Munster’s Heineken Cup triumph. Has played in all of Ireland’s games in 2007 to date

* Has had three major long-term absences from the Irish squad due to injury

* Was a Lion in 2001 – all three Wallace brothers are British & Irish Lions

* Was on the Ireland Development tour in 1997, then won Under-21 and ‘A’ caps. He was then called up for the senior tour to South Africa in 1999 and won his first Test cap on the 2000 senior tour in Argentina


“I think the important thing is to go out and win the game. Some games, as we know from last week, take 80 minutes to win, and if that’s what it takes, that’s what it takes.

“I think if you go into the game with notions of scoring points and margins and stuff, you just end up in trouble.”

– Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan sets his side’s stall out at Friday’s pre-match press conference in Rome

“They will try to get as many points as they can against us. But that’s their problem, we’re not concerned about that.

“Our main weapon on Saturday will be to play our game and give everything we’ve got, as we have done in our past games.

“Ireland have a very strong team, they have individual and collective talent. We know the only way we can upset them is if we play at the top of our game and they are not as strong as in other games.”

– Italian coach Pierre Berbizier gives a frank assessment of how his side will tackle Saturday’s game

“When you are cooped up 12 hours a day, every little thing helps. You have a game of table tennis, go for a walk. But it’s been a long time although at least we’ve been lucky enough to have two weeks without games when we’ve been able to go home.

“Four weeks without a break in the autumn can seen almost longer.”

Ireland number 8 Denis Leamy discusses life in camp. The Irish squad have been together for the past eight weeks at their base in Killiney


10 – The number of times Ireland have won the Five or Six Nations championship. The last Irish title triumph was back in 1985

7 – The number of tries the Italian team have conceded between the 20th and 50th minutes of their matches to date in the 2007 Six Nations championship. The have conceded ten in all

5 – The number of tries Ireland have scored in the second quarters – between the 20th and 40th minutes – of their four matches so far in the 2007 Six Nations championship. They have scored nine in all