Ireland ready to tame England's scrum
February 6, 2013
Dan Cole and Alex Corbisiero celebrate their penalty try against Ireland © Getty Images
Ireland's forwards coach Gert Smal insists that there will be no repeat of their horror show against the England scrum when the two teams come face-to-face in Dublin on Sunday.
England beat Ireland 30-9 last season with their dominance in the scrum a huge factor in their victory. England had Alex Corbisiero and Dan Cole packing down that day and following Mike Ross' first-half exit due to injury, the pair got the better of Cian Healy and Tom Court. In that 80 minutes against Ireland back on March 17, 2012, England secured a penalty try, thanks to dominance at the scrum, six scrum penalties and three scrums against the head.
But Ireland's scrum showed huge signs of improvement when they met Wales in the opening match of the 2013 tournament and Smal is adamant that the expected front-row of Cian Healy, Rory Best and Ross are ready to tame England's pack.
"It's quite obvious they will target us in that area. There are rumours out there that they want to attack our scrum," Smal told the Telegraph. "It's a great challenge for us. Last year is last year and we've worked on a couple of things. The set piece is a big part of their game and they have expanded under Lancaster the way they want to play the game so it is a good all-round team with a very good set piece.
"I always say with the Irish that when they decide on a certain way of doing things they will do it and it is a very special attitude that when the chips are down - and you saw it in the second-half last Saturday - that they stand up to things and can pull through."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The thirst for knowledge has seen coaches break away from the confines of rugby and look to America." Tom Hamilton on the two-way learning process
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside