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I don't have divided loyalties: Tainton

IRELAND'S assistant coach Mark Tainton, the former England 'A' fly-half, won't contemplate divided loyalties on St Patrick's Day:

"It is not an issue. The guys know where my loyalties are," he said.

"It is not a difficult week at all. I've done it for a number of years now. We have a good bit of craic about what's going to go on".

He was also quick to defend and explain Stephen Ferris's call on England being "bad losers". Mainly, it is that winners make bad losers. "If you are used to winning games, any game you lose, you're going to be a bad loser. It is as simple as that. I don't think he was being derogative in any way. We go out every week expecting to win. If you don't win, you're literally a bad loser".

Ireland's plan to contain 17stones centre Manu Tuilagi will centre around Keith Earls line speed to cut him down before he gets into top gear and, possibly, the midfield presence of Stephen Ferris.

"We all saw what happened pre-World Cup. Keith's worked very, very hard on his defensive lines. He more than proved in Paris he was capable of taking someone like (Aurelien) Rougerie, who is a very big and powerful man," said Tainton.

"He is in a good place. He is happy at the moment in his defensive situation. Hopefully, he will produce the same thing again against Tuilagi.

"He is more relaxed within himself. Year by year, he is maturing as a player and as a person. He feels comfortable with where he is as a player and how he is playing".