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Dublin: 12°C Sunday 9 May 2021

France have a €1m scrummaging machine but we've got pride... and Cian Healy

Mike Ross feels the return of his fellow Leinster prop is vital to Ireland’s victory hopes.

Mike Ross looking less than enthused at Ireland's press briefing.
Mike Ross looking less than enthused at Ireland's press briefing.
Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

IT WAS ONLY polite that a couple of reporters asked Mike Ross about France and their front row.

The Leinster prop had sat patiently for over 10 minutes as the surnames O’Gara, Sexton, Jackson and Madigan were discussed.

The question, when it came, might as well have been, “Mike, how do you think the other 14 lads will get on?” Instead it was about the French scrum.

Ross commented, “If you’ve been watching through the Six Nations, their scrum certainly took it to England’s.

“They’ve a good pack. They have Thomas Domingo, Benjamin Kayser and Nicolas Mas. Short, squat but very impeccable; very strong with a big second row and athletic back row.”

Online research has told Ross that the French are training with a €1m scrumagging machine. There is little chance of the IRFU ordering one for Ross and his packmates, especially when a new coach might need to be lured in the summer.

Courting disaster

Tom Court failed yet another audition in the front row against Scotland and was another veteran player, along with Ronan O’Gara, to be axed from the senior set-up.

The dating fiasco of Cian Healy’s suspension meant the Six Nations Committee had to climb down on their plans for a two-game ban so the Leinster loosehead returns to face the flailing French.

“It’s good to have Cian back,” said Ross. “It’s hard on Tom but Cian has been playing very well and it will be good to see him back this weekend.”

Ross, like most sane rugby supporters, is not holding out the forlorn hope of an Italy win in Twickenham leaving the championship wide open.

Still, he argues that motivation for the match will not be an issue. He told

We were enormously frustrated after the Scottish game and it is good to have something to focus in on. We’re playing at home so it’s a source of pride for us and we want to get to winning ways.”

“You’re still playing in front of your home support,” he added, “50,000 Irish people… it’s an honour to put on the green jersey, it really shouldn’t matter whether a championship is at stake or not.”

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Patrick McCarry

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