O'Callaghan has faith in 'lunatic' O'Connell
March 11, 2011
Paul O'Connell has been back to salvage Ireland's lineout © Getty Images
Ireland lock Donncha O'Callaghan has backed team-mate Paul O'Connell to put their lineout right against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.
The Munster duo have been at the heart of a faltering Irish set-piece so far in this season's Six Nations, but O'Callaghan has full faith in his senior partner to do his homework and put Wales under pressure - just as he did South Africa after learning a small amount of Afrikaans to gain an advantage.
"I wouldn't even question any of Paul's calls," he said. "I'd say if you went up to the video analysis room now, he'd be looking at Wales' line-outs from 1922 or something like that. We're lucky we have a lunatic like O'Connell who is willing to learn Afrikaans to pick off a few calls. I called up to his room one time and he had YouTube on and some woman counting to 10 in Afrikaans. I was like, 'what's going on here?'.
"He was getting his ear in and to be fair he did pick off an awful lot of their calls. They started calling in a huddle. I remember himself and Victor Matfield chatting about it afterwards. They probably gave us too much credit the year after when they wiped the floor with us in the lineout.
"The lineout is turning into an art form. It's coming down to a thing you really need to study. We're lucky with the lineout leaders we have. You need a few chiefs and Indians. I'm an Indian when it comes to O'Connell. He gives me my role and I perform it or else I get my head knocked off."
Ireland's indiscipline has been a major issue in recent weeks but O'Callaghan believes that the problem could be more easily rectified with greater communication between the officials and players.
"I watched a rugby league match the other night and the referees know the players by first name," he said. "The referee was saying stuff like, 'leave that ball Kevin Sinfield'. If we had that, you're in no doubt whereas some of the referees are no-warning refs. I'm 18 stone and I can't get away on the ground in under two seconds. You need to give fellas time."
Wales skipper Matthew Rees has also been focusing on his side's discipline in the build-up and has been left frustrated by their own mistakes costing them.
"The pressure is on us on Saturday, and the biggest issue for us is our own mistakes," he said. "We have to make sure we are accurate, disciplined and not make mistakes. The one thing that has frustrated me about us in the Six Nations is ourselves.
"We had two yellow cards against Scotland, which is unacceptable, and we gifted Italy two tries and we kept them in the game with ill-discipline. The message for us against Ireland is that we need to perform well for more than just 20 minutes. That is our biggest challenge, and if we can do that then I am sure the result will take care of itself."
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