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Elwood Wants Players To Grasp Opportunity

Elwood Wants Players To Grasp Opportunity

O2 Ireland Wolfhounds head coach Eric Elwood is looking forward to the challenge of facing Scotland ‘A’ at Netherdale on Friday night.

Speaking from the squad’s base in Scotland, Eric Elwood said: “I think I said at the start that the players should be looking at this as an opportunity to try and put themselves in the frame for selection for the Ireland senior team and that is exaclty the way it is panning out.

“Fergus McFadden has already been brought into the senior squad even before the game has taken place, so it just shows that these guys are one performance away from making that step up.

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“We have got a spread of eight internationals in the side, and guys like Tomas O’Leary, Tony Buckley and Gavin Duffy, as well as the others, will certainly focus on putting in their best personal performances to hopefully contribute to a win and get themselves in the picture for the senior team.”

The matchday squad for the Wolfhounds’ first outing of 2011 includes nine players who are uncapped at ‘A’ level – Eoin O’Malley, Nevin Spence, Damien Varley, Ian Nagle, Willie Faloon, Jamie Hagan, Andrew Browne, Dominic Ryan and Ian Whitten.

Elwood, who is assisted by Anthony Foley, added: “We lost Dan Touhy and Donnacha Ryan (to injuries), but just as in the senior team where injuries create opportunities for others, it’s the same with the Wolfhounds.

“Ian Nagle gets a chance to get some good experience at this level, along with Nevin Spence and Eoin O’Malley at centre.

“While the nature of it is that the Wolfhounds come together for a short space of time, what we have been impressing on the players is to focus on the little parts they bring to the game and not worry about anything outside of the match against Scotland ‘A’ and hopefully the performances that they want will come out.”

The Wolfhounds gained a 34-19 victory over Scotland ‘A’ at Ravenhill last February, and Elwood says that if the conditions are good and the forwards can ‘set the platform’, a good, open game could be in prospect.

“As we expected, Scotland have selected an experienced side and the strong values of Scottish rugby still remain their ability to create really quick ruck ball,” added the former Ireland out-half.

“Our defence has to be right to guard against that and we will obviously want to try and impose our own attacking patterns on the game.

“Ian Humphreys and Tomas are the types of player who like to attack the spaces and along with the good attackers we have across the backs we should, conditions permitting, get a good, open game.

“The first job is to create the platform to do that, so the pack will have to really produce the goods and win that vital collision area.”

Related Links –

O2 Ireland Wolfhounds Team Announced

Ireland Wolfhounds Enjoy Winning Debut