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DOC Speaks.....The Times

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    DOC Speaks.....The Times


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    <t><tr><td align="left" valign="top">@@@@SPAN>The Times@@@@/SPAN></td>

    <td align="right" valign="top">@@@@SPAN>February 01, 2007@@@@/SPAN></td>
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    <h1>O'Callaghan backs ailing Ireland to pack a wallop</h1>

    @@@@SPAN>Mark Souster@@@@/SPAN>

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    Donncha O’Callaghan has insisted that Ireland’s pack is ready for the challenge of the RBS Six Nations Championship and that critics who have suggested their scrum could be a weak link will be proved wrong.

    The manner of Leicester’s resounding Heineken Cup win last month over Munster, who provide six of Ireland’s eight forwards against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Sunday, has once again focused attention on an area that opposition coaches will be keen to exploit.

    While admitting that the manner of Munster’s defeat “hurt like mad”, O’Callaghan said that the game would have no bearing on Ireland’s performances over the next seven weeks in a tournament that they are favourites to win for only the second time since 1985.

    “Being with Ireland is a totally different mindset,” O’Callaghan, who wins his 31st cap in Cardiff, where he made his debut in 2003, said. “[Against Leicester] we got beaten by a better team on the day. They beat us in every facet of play. They were more hungry, they wanted every 50-50 ball more than us. Same with scrums, rucks and mauls. They dominated. Sometimes you have just got to put your hands up and admit it.

    “Of course, we have spoken about it, but it is not a blame game. No one is pointing the finger at Marcus Horan or John Hayes [the props]. It is a bit like with lineouts. When it’s going well, the second rows get all the praise. When it doesn’t and a few balls go astray, everyone is blaming the hooker. We know as an eight, we didn’t scrummage as well as we could have.

    “But there is no hangover. We will look to take on and dominate Wales. One to 15 they are all skilful players who can pass, kick and run. Sometimes, it is hell to play against them. You really have to knuckle down and make them go through phases and maybe wear them down.”

    Simon Easterby, the Llanelli Scarlets back-row forward, who has been recalled by Eddie O’Sullivan, the Ireland coach, said that he would not be surprised if Wales looked to attack the set-piece. “They may well see what was done when Leicester outmuscled a few of the Munster players,” Easterby said. “That is certainly fresh in the minds of the guys playing at the weekend.

    “It is something the Munster players will be very keen to put right on Sunday. They will want to put in a huge performance. We have to try and dominate the Welsh. Like every game, it starts up front and if we can do that, our backs are as good as any in the world.”

    #2
    Fly_Caster there is a link that deals with the pre match stuff.
    Excellence is hard to keep quite - Sherrie Coale

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