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Guinness Series: Trimble ready to emulate O'Driscoll and lay body on the line

The Ulster winger is still rattled by a chastening tour to New Zealand but determined to put things right.

Andrew Trimble offloads in the tackle against England.
Andrew Trimble offloads in the tackle against England.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

AS THE GUINNESS SERIES Test match against South Africa moves into focus it is clear that many of the Irish contingent still have their eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror.

When Ireland found themselves 20,000 kilometres from home and 26-0 down after just 27 minutes, most players would admit that they shrunk from the mammoth challenge ahead.

“That happened for a reason,” reflected scrum-half Eoin Reddan, “every try was conceded for a reason … little mistakes against New Zealand cost you seven points. It makes you be harder on yourself.”

Andrew Trimble, who came on for Keith Earls with Ireland 41-0 in arrears [and still 19 minutes shy of a record 60-0 loss], finds it hard to talk about Saturday’s game against the Springboks without revisiting the disaster at Waikato Stadium.

“We have to be mentally tougher and harder on ourselves,” he told TheScore.ie. ”The inconsistencies are something we have to look at because the way we were in the second Test and the third Test was like two different sides.

“It shows how good and how bad we can be on our day.”

Shelving the agony

It is easy to look back now and say that Ireland, missing Jamie Heaslip, Gordon D’Arcy, Stephen Ferris and Tommy Bowe, were going to be on a literal hiding to nothing against the World Cup winners but there was a sense that the All Blacks had been genuinely rattled.

Steve Hansen’s men hummed in response while we hit an 80-minute bum-note.

“Sorry to go back to the tour again but in the second Test,” said Trimble, “but if we could have beaten New Zealand – we were so close to beating them, maybe if [Carter] had missed that last kick or there was a charge-down – maybe the third Test would have went our way too.

“It’s impossible to underestimate how much of a shot in the arm those results can be.”

He added, “It’s very easy to dwell on the last game but we know we are going to be up against it against South Africa.

We know our performance has to be immeasurably better than that third Test on the tour. We just have to look at the last couple of years and when we produce the big performances we are hard to beat and have had a couple of big wins.

“If we can deliver a big performance at the weekend and get that win, it could set us up for the rest of the season.”

2009 – magic and fog

With each passing day, 28 November 2009 and a 15-10 win over South Africa at a fog covered Croke Park, Ireland’s glory year is receding into the past.

However, if Ireland’s video analysist, Mervyn Murphy, was looking for a confidence booster before sending the starting XV to bed on Friday night, he could do no better than showing them the rabid commitment of Brian O’Driscoll in the second-half of that famous win.

YouTube credit:

“I remember that,” Trimble remarked. “I was sitting in the stand that day and it just summed up the whole performance – it was dogged.

“He just put in a big hit [on Zane Kirchner] and then star-fished on his back. He was just exhausted.

“That’s the level we’ve got to get to. Hopefully we’ll produce something similar this weekend.”

Guinness Series: Jean de Villiers eager to pile on the misery for old Munster friends

Poll: Who would you pick as Ireland captain?

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Patrick McCarry

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