Rugby

Friday 1 August 2014

Ireland must set intensity to reign at Twickenham, insists Cullen

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Published 15/02/2014|02:30

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15 January 2013; Leinster's Leo Cullen during a press conference ahead of their Heineken Cup 2013/14, Pool 1, Round 6, match against Ospreys on Friday. Leinster Rugby Press Conference, RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Leinster's Leo Cullen

LEO CULLEN believes Ireland need to find the right level of intensity to have a chance of beating England at Twickenham next week.

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The Leinster captain says coach Joe Schmidt has created an environment around the squad where fringe players are desperate to become involved and, having worked closely with the New Zealander for three successful seasons, he reckons he will have a trick or two up his sleeve for the Triple Crown decider.

The 36-year-old, who won the last of his 32 caps against Russia at the 2011 World Cup, reckons England will provide stiff opposition for the unbeaten Irish team, but he believes the visitors can combine Schmidt's planning with the right level of physicality to produce a performance.

"For a big game like this, Joe will already have an idea of what he wants to do. He'll have a plan," Cullen told the Irish Independent.

PLANNING

"This week, he'll have been sewing the seeds of the planning and some of the moves they'll be planning for next week, regenerating the guys so that, when it comes to next week, the knowledge is already in their heads so that training is really sharp.

"It's a big game, but it will be about making sure that they have the right level of intensity. Come game time it's all about the execution and fronting up physically.

"There would always be a certain menu, but he will always have a few plays up his sleeve for a big game."

Cullen faced England at their home venue in the win in 2010 and has played at Twickenham a number of times for Leinster and Leicester – and he reckons Ireland will have it all to do.

"England are a tough proposition, it's always a good atmosphere there and you know when 'Sweet Chariot' starts going, things are not going well," he said.

Irish Independent

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