21.5 C
New York
Friday, September 22, 2023

Paul O’Connell says Ireland are ready for ‘biggest challenge’ as team prepare for World Cup clash against South Africa

PAUL O’CONNELL loves Box Office Wednesday — but this week is about Boks Office Saturday and doing the job against South Africa.

The Ireland assistant coach has made no secret of how much he enjoys watching the Ireland squad practise scrummaging on Wednesdays.

Ireland forwards coach Paul O'Connell spoke of his love for scrum sessions


Ireland forwards coach Paul O’Connell spoke of his love for scrum sessions
Forwards coach Paul O'Connell is relishing the challenge of the Springboks


Forwards coach Paul O’Connell is relishing the challenge of the Springboks

The former lock said: “I love the scrum sessions. We have great scrum sessions on Wednesdays. I enjoy watching them. My work is done when that starts.”

But he acknowledged that this week he may be more preoccupied with ensuring his work on the lineout is right for the biggest test yet.

The Springboks are the best in the world from defensive lineouts and the Ireland and Munster legend has his work cut out.

He added: “It’s a massive game but one of the good things about us is we haven’t treated any game differently.

Ireland coach reveals what Andy Farrell's men must do to beat South Africa
South Africa Director of Rugby  Erasmus won't be joining IRFU after World Cup

“The fact it’s South Africa, the fact that they’re world champions, the fact they’re playing so well and the fact there’s so much of a spotlight on it means this will become bigger.

“But I would imagine the working week and the preparation won’t be too different from what it has been like over the last few weeks.

“That’s one of the strengths the lads have in terms of how they go about their business.”

Ireland’s lineout has been a problem in the build-up to the World Cup — as it was before O’Connell’s recruitment two years ago — and again in the Pool B opener against Romania. But on Saturday it clicked during the 59-16 win over Tonga.

The coach himself was pleased with Ireland’s second try by Caelan Doris when Ireland won their own lineout five metres out and mauled over the line.

O’Connell added: “It was something the lads identified. Tonga stay down in a lot of their D and they hit you quite hard at the start so we just transferred it.

“And we had Bundee Aki in there as well. He added a little bit of weight to the maul so it was great.

“It’s hard to score maul tries in international rugby. It’s a tricky thing to do. To be able to go to the corner and grab one of those in a game is always excellent.”

But it was Ireland’s success at the lineout that delighted him most.
James Ryan added: “We got a little unlucky with a couple of things last week so we didn’t reinvent the wheel.

“We just trusted what we did well and it came off. We love getting a maul try as an Irish pack.

“We put some pressure on their lineout as well so we’re happy enough with how it came out.”

On Saturday, the pressure will be on Ireland’s hookers to get their throws right given the size of the South African locks who will be looking for lineout steals.

Ryan said: “They play a big pressure game. They’ve a very strong set-piece, lineout and scrum so it’s in their DNA.

“They’re a pressure-based team and they try to get after teams in as many parts of the game as possible.

“It is our biggest challenge for a long time.”

But Ireland hooker Rob Herring said: “We’ve also got big men ourselves. We’ve got great targets for lineouts. I wouldn’t say our second rows are any smaller than theirs..

“Tonga was a good step up for us, a different side, a bit more of a physical edge.

“We have to step it up every week and keep it going.

“It’s very fine margins when we had problems with the lineout, we were a couple of centimetres away from being 100 per cent. When things click, we showed we can get it right and we have to keep building on that. Keep getting better, with what is coming up.”

Fellow hooker Rónan Kelleher revealed: “We’ve just been working on a few little tweaks. Not that we’ve been bad but we’ve been really trying to focus on ourselves.

“Just little things about hammering home our little detail here and there and making sure we were max jump, max lift each time.

“It makes everything a lot easier when that is going. It allows you to get into your game and your flow a bit more.”

Lock Ryan believes Ireland now travel to Paris with confidence.

He said: “We’re happy with that. It was one of our better performances for a while. It will give us confidence, but this is a whole different level.

I wanted to remind him of what he did - mum reveals why she met son's killer
Patrick Kielty ‘overwhelmed’ following Late Late debut in heartfelt message

“We’ll get excited about it now as well. It doesn’t get any better.

“The World Cup in Paris against the champions is pretty cool.”

Source link

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles