Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


Simon Easterby keeping the faith after Twickenham lineout failure

Simon Easterby says he has faith in his team's lineout, after it came into sharp focus following ...

Simon Easterby says he has faith in his team's lineout, after it came into sharp focus following the defeat to England on Saturday.

The forwards coach had to watch on as England turned over a number of Irish throws, one of which led directly to an English score.

Alan Quinlan was among a number of former players to question the playcalling and execution of the Irish setpiece in recent days, but speaking this afternoon, Easterby says it's going to be a work in process as players get used to their system.

"We're continually trying to grow some experience and some leadership in that group. We had a couple of young players in there - Ronan Kelleher - making his first start at Twickenham, and he's done really well across the board over the last six weeks.

"We had a number of challenges in there from the opposition as well as making sure we get our own drills in order. I think there's probably a combination of things throughout the week. We felt we had a good preparation but it's very different preparation and then when the pressure comes on and the challenge is laid down, that's when we find out more about players."

Simon Easterby keeping the faith

Easterby has hinted Ireland will condense the playbook at lineout time this weekend against Georgia, suggesting they could "strip back" their playcalling options.

But he says he still has faith in the collective going forward.

"I'd say there's a combination of things, there's a little bit of inexperience in a number of areas. We probably needed to strip back a little bit of the options we had and will look to implement those over the next couple of weeks, but we're also on a bit of a journey with this lineout group as well. It's a new group, we've got a couple of inexperienced younger guys in there, who we feel are learning every week and they're growing in their roles, and it takes time to build combinations and get those things right.

"England, in terms of where they are at and in comparison to where we're at, they've far more experience that they've gained over the last couple of seasons as a forward pack compared to some of the guys in our group, and I think that's all part of that building process that we're trying to get to.

"There's definitely a couple of fixes that we need to make, and alterations, but it's certainly not doom and gloom. We're really confident with the guys we selected and the guys that took to the pitch at the weekend, there was a bit of inaccuracy and hopefully, we'll learn from those but there's also the pressure of what the opposition are doing to you as well, so it's probably a combination of things."

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Ronan Kelleher Simon Easterby