Ireland assistant coach Niall O’Donovan discussed the Pool D encounter with Georgia and how Ireland’s forwards can improve at a press briefing in the team hotel on Thursday. Read on for more.
ON GEORGIA AND THEIR TEAM SELECTION:
“Everybody knows what Georgia’s strengths are. They have a very, very physical pack of forwards who really took Argentina on up front and won a lot of personal battles.
“I don’t think it makes much difference what kind of team they put out against us. We have to go with what we saw against Argentina and what we saw during the summer. No matter what side they put out, they’ll be physical.
“The guys they have in reserve are just as big and as physical as the guys who started the other day. They’re all very physical. They probably tired towards the end (of their game with Argentina) and started losing a few set pieces.
“But for 70 or 80 per cent of the game, they were well in it. They were physical around the contact areas, rucks and breakdowns and looked to have a very good maul and a good maul defence. They may well pose huge problems for us up front.”
ON AREAS IRELAND CAN IMPROVE IN THIS WEEKEND:
“The focus has been on cutting down the mistakes that caused us to play so poorly last week. The emphasis has been on upping the skill levels and clean-out techniques at the breakdown. Against Namibia, the scrum was okay in the sense that we turned over six of their scrum balls and that’s always a good day for us.
“We had 75 per cent of the lineout ball spot on. But there were a few crooked throws and it looked like there was miscommunication between Jerry (Flannery) and the jumpers when he came on in the second half. If we can get up to 75 per cent of it right, there’s no reason why we can’t get the remaining 25 per cent right this weekend by upping the concentration levels.”
ON THE HOOKER BATTLE BETWEEN RORY BEST AND JERRY FLANNERY:
“There’s no doubt that Jerry is doing very well. He is a superb player and explosive around the park. But Rory hasn’t done a whole lot wrong. He was no different to anyone else on the park.
“The consensus was that everybody got a second go and, yeah, Jerry is putting pressure on Rory. Rory had a great Six Nations and one game last week when he wasn’t up to par really isn’t a reason to drop him.”