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Foley targets Puma front row that lacks bite of past beasts

IRELAND forwards coach Anthony Foley has felt the fever of heaven and hell as a player and a coach.

Primarily known for his clever brain as a player whose quick thinking took him where his slow feet couldn't on their own, he is not one to mince words when meat and mettle are needed.

"We all know what the consequences of the weekend are," he said.

"It is probably the biggest game I've been involved in for an autumn series. It is one of those you look at and it has ramifications across the board for the next three years."

The "good humour and good camaraderie" cited by Foley will disappear quicker than Irish sunshine if Ireland don't beat Argentina to nail down a second seed at the 2015 World Cup.

The niggle apparent at training yesterday morning is seen as a positive.

The edge, the agitation, the irritation at mistakes made are healthy ingredients that contribute towards a performance of genuine intensity.

So says Foley: "It always happens. You are involved in a team coming into a crunch encounter. Everyone wants to be in the starting fifteen. Everyone wants to dominate. Nobody wants to be seen dominated.

"There are no guarantees. All we can do is prepare to the best of our abilities. We have to take it up another level. Can we take it to another level? Hopefully, we can."

It will all begin in the front row where Ireland can take confidence from what Australia did to England at Twickenham.


Argentina have watched as a cluster of iconic front row forwards, like Mario Ledesma and Rodrigo Roncero and Martin Scelzo, have all moved into retirement.

They are no longer impregnable in the front row.

Sure, they have a platoon of monster men. But, they were shifted in The Rugby Championship.

"There will be a massive confrontation in that area. There are no guarantees. There are no givens. It is just important our front row are properly prepared," said Foley.

"Argentinians do scrummage differently than other teams. You do not want to give them an edge there. We do not want to get them rolling forward. We need to confront everything at set-piece time.

"We have to make sure they don't get that front-foot ball that they are looking for, that everyone craves in the game whether it is off a maul or a scrum walking you back.

"Nobody wants to see it. Backs don't want to see their forward pack coming backwards. They lose confidence.

"We need to see an Irish pack dominating the maul, dominating the scrum and putting pressure on the opposition.


"If we see that, everyone grows from that," he said.

A repeat of that first scrum against England in the 2011 Six Nations at The Aviva Stadium would be a tonic for the team and the sell-out crowd because there is a world of pain coming.

"They will hit you and you will get hurt," said Foley. "There has to be a certain degree of toughness about you.

"We're pretty confident that we can handle the physical side of the game. We showed that against South Africa for long periods of the game.

"It is just about making sure we can get back into that place again. It is a dark, lonely place and it is hard to get in there.

"But, hopefully, we will get fifteen players out on the pitch, who are willing to play for their country and willing to do what is necessary."