IRELAND HAVE REPORTED a clean bill of health after defeat to Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, but head coach Joe Schmidt will consider changes to his team before facing Scotland nonetheless.
Ireland’s players might be ‘fearful’ of their places this week, admits Kearney. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO
The physical toll of a bruising Six Nations encounter was of course high, but Ireland team manager Mick Kearney stated that none of those who played a part in Cardiff will be missing for the trip to Edinburgh this weekend.
“In relation to injuries, there are no injuries to report that will keep anybody out of the game next Saturday,” said Kearney this afternoon. “It’s a clean bill of health following the Wales game.”
Ireland returned to Carton House yesterday evening to begin their analysis of Scotland, before meeting again this morning. They will train on the pitch this afternoon, the lack of injuries meaning no new additions to the extended squad they announced last week.
Head coach Schmidt must now decide whether or not to change the composition of his starting XV and replacements bench as Ireland look towards the decisive final weekend of this year’s Six Nations.
A handful of disappointing individual performances from starters at the Millennium Stadium, as well as some strong displays off the bench might tempt Schmidt into alterations.
“Guys are generally fearful of keeping their places, but even more so after defeats you would be more fearful.
“We will have a team picked over the next couple of days and in some regards this could be the shackles released for us this week. We can go out and really play.”
That said, Kearney mentioned that Ireland were not picking on individuals after the defeat, instead focusing on their collective errors in Wales.
Ireland huddle up before defeat in Cardiff. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO
“I think you could say that right across the board for the majority of the team, every single player will probably pick a few instances or moments where they could have contributed a bit better to the team,” said Kearney.
“I don’t think you can particularly highlight key players; we are in this as a team. We are very squad-reflective and the same can be said right across the board.”
Kearney underlined that there is “no pessimism within the squad” following the disappointment of Cardiff, stating that Schmidt has immediately worked to push the players’ thoughts towards Edinburgh.
“We’re still in with a chance of winning the championship, so we’ll look at a few things in the [Wales] game and how we can improve.
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“We’ll look to do better at some of the things we’re not satisfied with, but at the same time I think it’s very important that we don’t get too caught up and we continue to look forward and get the minds focused on Saturday.”
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