A ‘fantastic challenge’ awaits Ireland – Eddie O’Sullivan
Ireland need to focus on themselves and master the basics in order to stay in the fight against England next weekend, says Eddie O’Sullivan.
The Red Roses are atop the TikTok Women’s Six Nations with three out of three wins in the tournament so far.
This run takes Simon Middleton Charges’ winning streak to 21 Tests and they have amassed 31 tries in wins over Scotland, Italy and Wales.
It’s a daunting task for Greg McWilliams’ side and one they will have to do without much of their backline, who will be unavailable due to seven-man commitments.
O’Sullivan, who led Ireland to three Triple Crowns during his tenure from 2001 to 2008, said the team needed to be realistic but added there were a number of areas they should be on. concentrating during pre-match training at Welford Road.
“They have to focus on their own performance,” he told the RTÉ Rugby podcast.
“The idea that they are going to lose a number of key players, leave home against England and win… you have to be realistic, I don’t see that happening. It would be a huge shock.
“What you do in these situations is stay focused on yourself.
“It’s about what Ireland can do next weekend.
“If I play a team away from home and they’re stronger, and there’s a good chance they’ll hit their straps, it could be a lousy day.
“It’s that old Bill Shankly mantra, ‘it starts low, don’t let it get worse’.
“Defending is going to be key and most of the week this week will be about defence.
“They can change their defense, throw a curveball in there, you can blitz and you can drift, so they’re not sure.
“You can’t play the ruck because how many rucks are you going to win in 80 minutes against England?
“Unless you’re 100 per cent sure you’re going to take the ball and get a penalty, let them have it and be in the line.
“Little things like that, but it’s about having a strategy that bothers England when they have the ball.
“Three-second scrums, ball in, ball out, stuff like that. Dial in what we’re trying to do with the ball, give them simpler plays.
“It’s the kind of stuff you look at when you’re building a game plan against a team that’s nailed down to beat you.
“Then maybe after 20 minutes they don’t walk away, or after 30 minutes or half-time you’re still in the game, and the dynamic changes.
“I was faced with the fact that when I left to play the All Blacks in New Zealand, you have to go through the game preparation processes because they are different challenges.
“It comes down to nuts and bolts.
“It’s a tough week at work, but it’s a fantastic challenge.”
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