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We're not going to play the ball wide for the sake of it - Mike Ross

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Ireland's Mike Ross

Ireland's Mike Ross

SPORTSFILE

Ireland's Mike Ross

Prop Mike Ross has vowed that Ireland won’t resort to sevens rugby in their attempt to reach seventh heaven by lifting a second successive championship crown in Murrayfield.

The Leinster player admits it would be a huge achievement to be part of the first Irish side to compile back-to-back titles since 1949 as they prepare for their role in this weekend’s “Super Saturday” showdown against the Scots.

However, the Leinster man has warned that Ireland will not resort to desperate measures in attack as criticism increases about Joe Schmidt’s limited try-scoring this term.

“We are not going to go out and play sevens rugby, that’s for sure - I can't do that anyway!” smiles the veteran front-rowers from Cork.

“Because we don’t want to try and throw it around from the start. If you do that and make a knock on mistake and before you know it one of their fast ball carriers will be scooting up the pitch.

“Each one of their back three has gotten an intercept so far this Six Nations, so it is something we will be conscious of. We will put width on it where it is appropriate but we are not going to just play wide for the sake of it.

“It would be huge to win back-to-back titles. It would certainly give us a good lift going into the World Cup. It is something we really want as a squad.

“There was a lot of disappointment in that dressing room after that Welsh game because for some lads, who knows when the next opportunity is going to come around for a Grand Slam again.

Ross admits Ireland are still unsure as to what happened in the final scrum at Cardiff last weekend when the visitors were poised to snatch a late draw.

“It’s pretty hard to tell because the call is made by the touch judge, and we don’t know exactly what he called, you know?

“Because Wayne Barnes had the ear-piece in, he got the call in and he called the penalty, so we’re awaiting feedback from referees on what exactly that was for.

“It was difficult for me to see, it was pretty messy, it could have been a couple of things, but we’ll wait until we get clarification.”

The player’s concession that any number of offences could have been called reflects the ongoing confusion at scrum-time and particularly when the players, too, are all stretching the laws to breaking point.

“I suppose the referees are really trying to clean it up though so we probably fell foul of that a little bit.

“At the same time it is good to see they are paying attention to it and we will certainly be looking at any pictures we painted that might not have been to the referees liking and we will tidy it up this week.

“There was another scrum we got penalised in and I thought it was on the edge to be honest. Looking back you can probably see why the referee called it when he did, but then you could argue the other way too.

“But as long as there is consistency in the refereeing you can adjust to that. It is when they interpret it different ways both teams that the confusion arises and to be fair to Barnesy, he officiated pretty much the same the whole way through.

“It can be a marginal call but at the same time you can be aware of referees pet hates. Like some referees are really hot on you rolling away as soon as you hit the ground from the tackle while other referees are hot on the offside line or players being ahead of the kicker.

“Each referee will have his own strengths and weaknesses and you have to identify those and get on the right side of him.”

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