Friday 24 November 2017

What the Irish thought

Eddie O'Sullivan

Coach

"Part of me wanted the Irish team to call Johnson's bluff -- to stand directly in front of them and leave them staring at our backs.

"I had an urge to send a message down for Brian O'Driscoll to line the Irish team up in a parallel line, two yards in front of England. But this wasn't feasible.

"Firstly, it would have meant us having our backs turned to the England team.

"Secondly, it would have kicked off a pretty unseemly row before a ball had been kicked in anger. It was a no-win situation.

"Johnson, I have no doubt, knew exactly what he was doing. England had been told previously where to stand but his was an England team determined to lay down a marker. With hindsight, I could admire Johnson's pig-headedness.

"In fact, I would go so far as to say he was dead right."

Brian O'Driscoll

Captain

"Personally, I've never put much thought into what side we've stood on and what not. That wouldn't have affected me.

"Some of the lads as we were walking over said: 'They're standing on our side. Let's stand to the side of them or in front'.

"I said 'you can't stand in front of them because you're liable to get a box in the back of the head. Let's just go down the other side'.

"In a weird way, I'd almost have an element of respect for him."

Anthony Foley

No 8

"We really needed Lansdowne Road to be a cauldron but it wasn't. We used to get a better crowd for the November Tests against the southern hemisphere nations, when the crowd would be almost completely Irish.

"Six Nations games attracted a 50-50 crowd and the place wasn't intimidating at all.

"Then we had Martin Johnson's refusal to move, which was a bit of a farce but a psychological boost for them, I'm sure.

"I was more annoyed that their first score by Lawrence Dallaglio came directly off a scrum under our posts when I failed to control the ball at my feet."

Irish Independent

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