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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 21 August, 2019
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'Front rows always have a nemesis and Cian has had some pretty good days against Dan Cole'

Leinster scrum coach Marco Caputo on the task facing the Irish front row against England on Sunday.

Caputo thinks Healy can get on top of Cole this Sunday.
Caputo thinks Healy can get on top of Cole this Sunday.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THE IRISH FRONT row has the kind of strength in depth that fans dreamed about for years, with Joe Schmidt having the luxury of top class replacements on both side of the scrum regardless of which combinations he goes with.

In Joe Marler and Dan Cole England have two powerful scrummagers so it is just as well that Schmidt might be able to call on Cian Healy and Marty Moore in the second half.

Earlier in the season Marler dominated Mike Ross home and away in the Champions Cup back-to-backs and the veteran tighthead was left out of the Leinster match-day squad for the final two pool fixtures in favour of Moore and Tadhg Furlong.

Leinster scrum coach Marco Caputo was impressed by Ross’ two displays so far in the Six Nations but stressed that there isn’t an established pecking order of Moore, Furlong and Ross at the province.

He also commended Ross’ attitude in the analysis sessions after being omitted from the Leinster team for those European fixtures and thinks how the Corkman performs will go a long way to deciding Sunday’s game.

“I don’t see that we have a pecking order,” Caputo said.

“We’ve got a good depth of players at tighthead and loosehead. We very much have a horses for courses approach and if we think a player with a skillset of X, Y and Z is important to that game then we pick that player,”

 ”He is definitely going to have a big bearing on the outcome of the England game this weekend. Marler had a particularly good day out against us in the last two European games and Mike didn’t have such good games. And there is that little match-up, a game within a game. Mike is clever enough to know that he has to be on his game to make sure Ireland get a good outcome.”

But while Marler might have an edge on Ross, Caputo reckons that one of the national team’s returning stars knows how to neutralise the threat of England’s Cole.

Cole won a lot of penalties against Gethin Jenkins in round one but Caputo thinks that Healy’s experience in playing against the Leicester man will be crucial at the Aviva.

“Front rowers always have a nemesis who they have problems with and if you look at Cian Healy, he has had some pretty good days against Dan Cole,” Caputo said.

“Ireland will be keen to get him on and get him some minutes because when he is on he can do a bit of damage at the other side of the scrum so I expect him to come on not long after the break.”

Leinster travel to the Ospreys this Friday night after a mixed two-week period, losing to the Dragons at the RDS before just about getting a bonus point win against Zebre at home last Friday.

Since Leinster have a host of players in the national squad there is obviously a lot of disruption but since they often don’t know which players will be involved with Ireland until late in the week, it can be hard to nail down a starting 15.

“We’ve got 18, 19 players going away this afternoon to Ireland camp,” Caputo said.

“We might get two or three players back – we’ll get them back late if we get them back, on Thursday before we fly out. It’s not an ideal preparation but it is what it is. We just crack on with it and we think we have a good enough group here that we can go and get a job done. We are not going to hide behind the fact that we are missing X amount of players. We are going to pick a team that we think can go and get a win.”

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