Conor O'Shea stands up to criticism of Italy

Their tactics raised eyebrows including those of the England head coach

BY Raf Diallo 20:31 Sunday 26 February 2017, 20:31 26 Feb 2017

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea ©INPHO/James Crombie

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea has stood firm against the wave of criticism coming towards his side after the Six Nations defeat to England.

The Irishman's team employed tactics which saw them avoid rucks, leaving England initially perturbed and unable to cope.

England head coach Eddie Jones described the tactics as "not rugby" after the game and pundits were also critical of what they saw.

Reacting to questions on the issue, O'Shea emphasised that the team played within the laws of the game throughout and feels that it is Italy who get picked on when it comes to decisions and don't get credit when they make an impact.

"First game of the championship, we felt fairly wronged when there were so many penalisable offences that were actually in the law and no one paid a blind bit of difference to it," he said to BBC Radio 5 Live, referencing their loss to Wales on the opening weekend.

"It always seems to be 'let's pick on Italy' and we said we've had enough of that so everything we did today was completely legal and I'm incredibly proud of what the players put out there.

"If people want us to come over and roll over and get our tummies tickled, well we're not going to do that."

BBC put ex-England international Matt Dawson's critical tweet about Italy's tactics to O'Shea: 

The Irishman responded: "I'd like him to sit down with World Rugby and have a look at some of the other games that we've played this year and if he's that good on the rules actually make a comment after we were impacted as we were in the first game of the championship."


Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week