Friday 15 December 2017

Simon Easterby: Ireland are building nicely for the World Cup

4 August 2015; Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby during a press conference. Ireland Rugby Press Conference. Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
4 August 2015; Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby during a press conference. Ireland Rugby Press Conference. Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby says he is happy with preparations ahead of the World Cup warm-up games, but admits that they must hit the ground running against Wales this weekend.

The players have been involved in mini-camps over the last five weeks and have been given breaks or been sent back to their provinces and Easterby is confident that they have got the balance right in their preparations.

"We're building nicely, it's early to be playing Test matches but we are ready to put into practice some of the things we've been working on over the last couple of weeks Wales include former England under-20 Ross Moriarty has been handed a start for the Saturday's clash in Cardiff along with fellow debutants Eli Walker, centre Tyler Morgan and lock Dominic Day.

It's a starting XV that Easterby is excited to see in action.

"It's exciting they have four new caps in the starting team... A bit of a mix of youth and experience," he added.

"Jake Ball and Dom Day create a new combination in the second row and Mike Phillips and James Hook reunite old combinations.

"They are trying some new combinations and there are lots of talented players coming in there.

"Tyler Morgan is playing very well for the Dragons and Harry Amos is very exciting at full-back. The Welsh management have high hopes for him."

The pressure that comes with a regular Test match will be missing this weekend but the importance of the game for players trying to make the 31-man World Cup squad and management trying to perfect things for the massive tests in September and October can't be understated.

"It's a test week and for the players involved for us, it's a massive opportunity," Easterby continued.

"Some have never been tested at this level before...So we'll know more about players and combinations after Saturday.

"We have to hit the ground running and assess the players under fatigue.

"It's a great test for us and is without doubt a test match.

"We've played against Wales four months ago and that is not a game we were particularly happy about coming away from Cardiff.

"The most important thing is that we get a performance and then we have something to work from.

"It is important that you test these things at Test level."

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