At his final press conference before Friday’s clash with Italy, Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan discussed the injury to scrum half Peter Stringer, dealing with new combinations and how training has been progressing. Read on for more.
ON FIELDING NEW COMBINATIONS:
“It’s a chance to tinker with combinations and see what the possibilities are. Stephen Ferris was used against Scotland and Andrew Trimble is jumping in for Brian (O’Driscoll) for this game. At this stage I’m pretty clear in my mind with all the players. There was a bit of pressure on them before the squad was named. But now they have blended together, the quality of training has increased and they are now focused on the business end of the World Cup.”
ON THE FITNESS OF PETER STRINGER:
“Peter has a back spasm which flares up now and again. He may have to sit this one out. To be honest, if there are any problems with a player at this stage, we will take them out rather than risk them.
“If he is forced out, then Isaac Boss will come in and Eoin Reddan will be on the bench. While I’m reasonably confident Peter will come through, we will go on the safe side.”
ON TRAINING THIS WEEK:
“Training has been particularly good. We’re very hard on each other. The coaches push the lads very hard and they respond by pushing the coaches hard as well. Training is a very serious business but we have found with the lads that the harder it is, the more focused it is and the more enjoyment they get out of it. That’s not unusual. Every country will be in that sort of mode now.
“Hopefully come Friday night, everything we have been doing on the training pitch will manifest itself on the playing pitch. That’s the transition you want to make. It can be tricky as it might not happen for different reasons. For example, the games in Bayonne and Scotland did not pan out the way we wanted, but hopefully we’ll up it and get a better performance on Friday.”