Monday 27 February 2017

Healy appeals for patience as he insists Ireland still 'work in progress'

David Kelly

David Kelly

Brian O'Driscoll and Cian Healy will be fit for Ireland's Six Nations trip to Murrayfield to face Scotland in 12 days' time.

Ireland will reconvene tomorrow but only the first XV will be in Cork, where O'Driscoll is sure to reiterate his call for the axe to fall on some of his under-performing team-mates.

O'Driscoll has a stiff neck, but there are no fears that the Irish captain may miss the must-win encounter with the struggling Scots.

Healy has declared that his shoulder problem is a minor issue, despite extensive on-field treatment during Sunday's narrow 25-22 defeat to the French.

"It's alright," said Healy yesterday. "It's just a bump on the shoulder and there's nothing really to worry about. I'll have to look after it, but I'm pretty happy it will be alright for Scotland once I get some treatment on it with Leinster."

The Irish loose-head has insisted that Ireland will retain faith in their tactics despite a series of shoddy displays from their misfiring backline.

"I don't know if it's not clicking," he countered. "It's a work in progress. It's something we're trying to nail down to be a permanent factor in this squad.

"It's just something we need to be patient at, becoming used to what we're trying to do. And we'll get there soon enough.

"We have different types of play. We have the big expansive game to get us to the scoring zone and then it's about out-muscling teams and trying to beat them up to get over the line. And then if that doesn't work, and you're sucked in, you can throw it out to the backs and they can go over with the talent in that backline.

"It was tough to go so close. The amount of times games like that have gone Ireland's way, it was bound to go against us once. We just have to take the positives out if it heading into the next game.

"Things like the penalty count and stuff are what we need to work on. We said last week that our handling was bad and that our scrummaging needed work. I suppose things like the penalties did let us down and that's an area we need to seriously look at."

Ireland's replacements bench will be freed to play for their provinces in this weekend's round of Magners League matches.

Irish Independent

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