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Wallace Determined To Make His Mark

Wallace Determined To Make His Mark

Paddy Wallace is determined to make his mark on Ireland’s summer tour to Argentina, and copper-fasten his spot as understudy to Ronan O’Gara for the Irish number 10 shirt.

Speaking at the squad’s training camp in Limerick, Wallace said: “The tour to Argentina has been a focus for me for some months after I heard a suggestion that key players might be rested. I have had several games with Ulster at out-half which is good.

“Prior to that I was in the centre but having those games as a number 10 in recent weeks was a boost. I have been training week in and week out to play 10, which gives me the opportunity to improve on my decision-making with regard to kicking and all the different skills which are required as an out-half.”

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Wallace, who has taken his Test caps tally to three this season, admitted that Ulster had been on a downward curve in recent weeks and confidence throughout the team was hit by their poor form in the Magners League.

“We had a chance to win the league again but that second half against Munster, when we lost a 21-3 lead, really took the wind out of our sails.”

Wallace said that his provincial team-mate and former Irish international David Humphreys has been very supportive to him, adding: “He is always there whenever I have a question or want a bit of advice…he is very helpful.

Wallace, who turns 28 in August, has spoken to Humphreys about certain aspects of his game.

“I have been trying to sort out my positioning when I’m in the red zone and when I am clearing. He has been helping me as to where I should stand and where the best position is for me to be in to avoid putting pressure on myself.”

Asked where he could improve his game, the Ballymena clubman explained: “As an out-half you have got to concentrate for the entire 80 minutes. There have been times when my concentration may have let me down and maybe I wasn’t as focussed as you have to be as an out-half.

“In the centre you are not calling the shots and you’re not thinking all the time. You have to have consistent game-time in the 10 shirt to get a feel for the position and I have had that for the last few weeks. I am more comfortable now.

“The tour will be a much bigger task for me. We will have two very tough matches against Argentina. We may be painted as underdogs which may be a good thing. There are a lot of guys playing for a World Cup place so there will be no lack of motivation,” added Wallace, who debuted for Ireland against South Africa last November.

“I am very confident that this tour can be a success for the squad.”