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Plumtree: We’re Focused On Our Own Performance

Plumtree: We’re Focused On Our Own Performance

Forwards coach John Plumtree believes Ireland will not have to worry about how much time the ball is in play against France – just as long as the visitors make the most of their possession.


Ireland played free-flowing rugby in the search for tries against Italy last weekend but John Plumtree feels the men in green do not necessarily need to be overly-cautious at the Stade de France.

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“Well, it’s better we’ve got the ball than they have it,” he said. “That’s for sure.

“We’ve got to make sure that if we do keep that ball, we do build pressure and we get that scoreboard ticking over.

“We turn ball over from any part of the field, then they’ll come back at us. Joe (Schmidt) showed the boys lots of vision of that this week and it’s certainly something we’re really going to have to focus on tomorrow.”

By the same token, Plumtree is not too concerned that France have stuffed their bench with six forwards in expectation of a bruising battle between the packs.

“We’re always looking to vary our strategy a little bit…but I don’t think you can worry too much about them. We’ve got to really focus on our own performance.

“We were very happy with some of the areas – particularly lineout drive – last week against Italy. I’m not saying all we’re going to do tomorrow is mauls – it’s just not what we do.

“The 6-2 bench can be quite stressful if you lose a back early on in the encounter as well. So, there’s a little bit of risk when you do overload your bench with forwards. But that’s their strategy and we’ll see how it goes.”

One area the New Zealander expects France to improve on is in the lineout. The French lost eight off their own throw in the 19-17 win over Scotland but this week they welcome back fit-again Racing-Metro hooker Dimitri Szarzewski.

“He’s a good thrower,” admitted Plumtree. “They’ve got a big lineout with a lot of jumpers. I’m sure it was a key focus for them this week and I’m sure they won’t have a meltdown like they did last week in that area.”

France are also hoping for an improved showing at scrum time, a sector that Ireland have excelled in during this Six Nations.

“We’ve been really happy with our scrum. We’ve been able to launch from a lot of our scrums in this competition.

“We’ve conceded very few penalties or free kicks from our scrum. I think the referees have been really happy with the way our scrum has been going in this competition. It’s been easy to manage and hopefully that will continue tomorrow.”