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O’Driscoll: All Our Focus Is On Beating England

O’Driscoll: All Our Focus Is On Beating England

The two-week break between the Italy and England matches has only served to increase talk of potential RBS 6 Nations glory for Ireland but captain Brian O’Driscoll says the squad’s focus is solely on next Saturday’s game.

Click here to listen to the Ireland team announcement press conference in full.

With Ireland sitting top of the table in the RBS 6 Nations, Brian O’Driscoll is justifiably pleased with how things have gone so far for his unbeaten side.

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England’s sweet chariot rides into town this weekend, hoping to derail Ireland’s Championship charge, and O’Driscoll knows the Irish set-up can ill-afford to look beyond Saturday’s Croke Park clash.

“Title talk is very premature. We haven’t allowed ourselves to get carried away with whatever’s been written, whatever’s been said,” he said, commenting on thoughts of Ireland becoming RBS 6 Nations champions.

“All we’ve focused on is who we’re playing against this week. We’ve refused to talk about any other games, any other outcomes – things that we’re not in control of.

“We’re in control of the English game and the English game alone. That’s what 100 percent of our focus is on.”

England came out on top when the sides met at the tail-end of last year’s RBS 6 Nations. Tries from Paul Sackey, Mathew Tait and Jamie Noon, allied to 18 points from place-kicker Danny Cipriani, saw England power to a 33-10 Twickenham triumph over Ireland.

11 months on, both countries have new coaching set-ups with Declan Kidney at Ireland’s helm and former second row and captain Martin Johnson in charge of England.

So what does O’Driscoll make of England’s 2009 model and their most recent performance against Wales?

“Having watched the Wales game again, I certainly felt that England were unfortunate at times,” he said, reflecting on their 23-15 defeat in Cardiff.

“In fairness to Wales they played some great stuff but so did England and they really put the Welsh under the pump at times. Had they scored that breakaway try things could have been very, very different.

“That just goes to show you how small the margins are in these games. The tight calls really can decide a result one way or another.”

Ireland’s 2007 win over England at Croke Park was memorable in so many ways, and that 43-13 success will undoubtedly stand out in the record books for many years to come.

O’Driscoll agreed that there is always a special buzz – both on and off-the-field – when Ireland entertain England.

“England is always a big one. We always look forward to having them over.

“More often than not they’re one of the better teams in the world so you enjoy taking those teams on as often as you possiblly can.

“There’s huge history between the two countries The country always sits up and watches you play England regardless of the sport so it’s always an exciting time and one you always look forward to.”

Much of the pre-match press has centred on England’s recent disciplinary problems where they have suffered eight yellow cards in three matches.

Asked whether this is an area that Ireland can exploit the English in, O’Driscoll said that the team will just be concentrating on playing their own game.

“I’m sure it’ll be something England will have looked at themselves. Any professional team that concedes a number of penalties or yellow cards, looks at their discipline.

“It’s not something that will affect us in any way, shape or form.

“We’ll go about our game as per usual and let the referee make the decision. It’s not really an issue for ourselves,” he added.