Tuesday 24 October 2017

O'Callaghan: We must do our talking on pitch

O'Callaghan: Looking forward to battle
O'Callaghan: Looking forward to battle
David Kelly

David Kelly

WHEN Donncha O'Callaghan reveals that Munster have an exhaustive archive of some 80 line-out calls, you can understand just why Tony McGahan's side are not keen to expend unnecessary energy on midweek trash talking.

Now that Paul O'Connell has been ruled out of action following yesterday's suspension, there will be an understandable sense of bitterness between these sides and O'Callaghan admits that his side must retain their unswerving focus on the job in hand.

"The thing about these games is that there is a carry-over, there are probably things that are said and done in matches that if you played maybe in four months time would be forgotten about," O'Callaghan admitted.

"If it's fresh in your mind then it always builds and leaves a bit of a taste. I'm sure they're thinking the exact same thing; it's probably what makes this round of the Heineken Cup special.

"There is the little bit of edge to it, the afters from last week and, it's true, it really is only half-time after 80 minutes at home and now we have to go away. In ways, it can be a relief to get the home one out of the way because you have to win at home. You haven't got a hope otherwise.

"That's done now and it's time to refocus to see what we can get. We have to pick up a result away at some stage and this is it, backs to the wall stuff, we have to get a result away in the next few weeks and we'll see how we go Saturday.

"I don't want to play it out in any other way other than doing our talking on the pitch Saturday."

O'Connell will once more revert to a role as a back-up analyst, indulging his oft-stated passion for deconstructing the line-out, an area where both sides would feel they may possess an advantage tomorrow.

"We have two guys who are fairly crazy about the line-outs, Mick O'Driscoll and Paulie," he reveals. "They'll go through to see if anything needs to be fixed, or things that might have been picked up by the cameras, but the calls will all be changed. It puts the responsibility back on us to learn off new plays. We go through a lot of line-out plays, you could have a library of line-outs with about 80 calls and the lads will pick the ones they feel will be right for this one.

"That's what the two boys do very well. I spend a bit of time on the computers, but these guys are crazy for going through every move and trying to work out why the ball can be won in different areas.

"Then you have Alan Quinlan who is experienced in this area as well. It's a part of the game we've always been keen on, probably going back to when John Langford came in to ensure that our line-out worked well and fired well."

Irish Independent

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