Ireland ‘A’ take on the New Zealand Maori tonight in Exeter (Sandy Park, kick-off 8pm) to decide who joins England Saxons in the 2007 Churchill Cup final. See below for the thoughts of Ireland ‘A’ coach Michael Bradley.
– ON THE MAORI SIDE –
“The Maori won the tournament last year and they have an awful lot of talented players. We watched them play Canada play and they were very impressive.
“You need to limit their opportunities and cut down the space they have to operate in. If you manage that then it will be a tight game. They’re more comfortable when it’s loose, but I’m not sure how comfortable when it’s tight.
“We won’t be keeping it tight, we’ll just try and cut down their space. I’m not sure the Maori were tested too thoroughly by Canada.
“They were given a lot of time on the ball and if you give that to footballers of that quality then they’ll do a lot of damage.”
– ON HIS TEAM’S PROGRESS –
“I was very pleased with our display against Canada. Their team was close to their World Cup side but we were too strong for them. Our forwards went very well. This augurs well for our game against the Maori.”
– ON HIS PLAYERS’ WORLD CUP PROSPECTS –
“Eddie O’Sullivan is in daily contact with us during the Churchill Cup. We’re giving him updates on the players and how they progress. There are probably four or five of these lads who have a chance of making it to the World Cup – they’re already on Eddie’s radar.
“Of course, much depends on their performances over the next couple of games. If they perform well against the Maori and then on finals day, they will have done their chances a world of good.”