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'There's no room for ill-discipline, we have to try avoid mistakes' | Simon Easterby ahead of Wales clash

Ireland defence coach Simon Easterby has called for discipline from the side ahead of their Guinn...

Ireland defence coach Simon Easterby has called for discipline from the side ahead of their Guinness Six Nations opener on Saturday. 

They take on holders Wales at the Aviva Stadium in a repeat of last year's opening weekend.

For many, Ireland's hopes of winning the championship for the first time since 2018 ended early that afternoon in Cardiff.

Peter O’Mahony, who's part of the replacements for Saturday's game, became the first Irish player ever to be sent off in a Six Nations match following a red card in the first 15 minutes.

It was for a reckless shoulder-led hit to the head of Wales prop Tomas Francis and Wales went on to win the game 21-16.

Speaking ahead of their meeting at Lansdowne Road Easterby says discipline is something they think about and he doesn't want any such mistakes happening again.

"It's crucial.

"I think every team would see it as being right at the top of the agenda in terms of getting it right yourselves and forcing [the] opposition to give you field position and chances to kick points through their ill discipline.

"It's certainly at the forefront of everyone's mind.

"We have to work with the officials, players have a responsibility to do things in a legal manner; the game is tough enough these days without guys having to do things outside of [the] law.

“Those mistakes and those unfortunate times when a player gets his tackle entry wrong, or clean out entry wrong, or there’s a challenge in the air, players and coaches try as much as we can to educate and try to mitigate and try to reduce the amount of chances of those things coming back to bite you.

“It’s certainly at the forefront of everyone’s mind.”

The Aviva Stadium will be full for the game with a capacity crowd of just over 50,000 in attendance.

It will be the first time in nearly two years either side will have played a Six Nations game in front of such an audience.

Easterby says this will inevitably add to the sense of occasion and possibly further motivate players.

However, he also says that striking a balance between physicality and ill discipline is important.

"It's about being really accurate, good habits that you perform in training, making sure that we work hard on our techniques, at the ruck in particular.

"There's always going to be clashes in rugby, it's a contact sport and there's guys moving left and right and forward and there's going to be times when a player gets caught out, I think that those things are unavoidable.

"The more that we can work hard in training to mitigate those opportunities to go against us then the better we'll be when it comes to getting on the right side of the law with the referee."

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Guinness Six Nations IRFU Peter O'Mahony Simon Easterby