Saturday 18 November 2017

England represent significant step up, warns O'Brien

Sean O'Brien has been impressed with Stuart Lancaster's England side who have won four in a row against Ireland
Sean O'Brien has been impressed with Stuart Lancaster's England side who have won four in a row against Ireland
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Sean O'Brien says Ireland are facing a step up in class when they face England at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday week.

Having beaten France and Italy in the opening rounds of the Six Nations, Joe Schmidt's champions are preparing for a Grand Slam eliminator against the old enemy in round three.

Last weekend's win was Ireland's ninth in succession and, while the Tullow flanker believes Ireland could have beaten England last season, he is impressed with Stuart Lancaster's side who have won four in a row against Ireland.

"They are a way more complete team than France so they are going to be a lot better. They are more structured and have more about them," he said. "They are very dangerous, especially with the new wingers they have and the centre combination, it's going to be a very tough day.

"I don't know if we owe them one but last year's game I thought we had opportunities to win it. Little bits and pieces let us down. If we rectify them and make sure our detail and our game-plan are 100pc, we will be in a good place.

"There's history there. Ireland, England. I think the fans probably build it up to more than it is. I think the players are focused on getting their own things right. Ireland v England, that does excite you."

France lock Pascal Pape was yesterday banned for 10 weeks for kneeing Jamie Heaslip in the back last Saturday. The Ireland No 8 will be out for at least four weeks as a result of the incident which left him with three cracked vertebrae and the three-man Six Nations Disciplinary Committee adjudged the offence to be at the higher end of the scale.

Irish Independent

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