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'He’s probably my bodyguard! Have you seen the size of that lad?'

Connacht lock Quinn Roux is aiming to help Ireland win the set-piece battle against England.

Quinn Roux and Andrew Porter will team up in Ireland's scrum.
Quinn Roux and Andrew Porter will team up in Ireland's scrum.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THE COMBINATION BETWEEN a tighthead prop and a tighthead lock is one that can be a little invisible to those of us who don’t put our heads down and shove in scrums, but it can have a telling impact on games.

Last weekend, Andrew Porter and Quinn Roux found a nice blend in this regard, helping Ireland to come out on top of the scrum battle against Wales.

Tomorrow against England is likely to be a very different challenge after Eddie Jones reunited his first-choice front row of Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, and Mako Vunipola.

The Irish forwards will face a severe test of their scrummaging ability, with Pascal Gaüzère – the referee who penalised Leinster seven times at the scrum against Saracens – sure to be a key man.

England boss Eddie Jones has called into question the legality of Porter’s scrum work but Roux, the man who will be behind Ireland’s tighthead in the second row, has no doubt about the Leinster man’s scrummaging ability.

“He’s probably my bodyguard! Have you seen the size of that lad?” said Roux of Porter.

“I just need to look after him. Not just that, a dominant set-piece looks after our nine, makes life easier for him and our 10s playing on the front foot. It starts up front, that’s what we have to look at first.

“As much I like to be dominant, I need to be able to make that my tighthead is dominant and that’s my main job, making sure that he’s comfortable and making sure he doesn’t take a backward step. That’s a big responsibility but it’s something that I really enjoy and I take pride in.”

Indeed, the Irish pack has a lot to get right.

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quinn-roux Roux will win his 14th Ireland cap tomorrow in London. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Over the course of the last three fixtures between these sides, Maro Itoje and co. have come out on top of the contest at set-piece. Ireland’s maul hasn’t really fired in recent weeks and it’s another area where Roux is hoping for improvement tomorrow.

“It’s been a weird one. We had a few opportunities [against Wales last weekend] that we didn’t take. We need to be better in that area.

“We didn’t convert some opportunities five or 10 metres out in the last few weeks, so that’s something to work on and we have been talking about. The other side of the ball is maul defence. Seeing England score three maul tries [against Georgia] last week makes it massive. It’s both sides of the ball.”

Roux’s physicality is one of the main reasons Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has selected him to start against the English, with Tadhg Beirne among the unlucky players to miss out.

The Connacht man delivered an edge in his performance against the Welsh last time out and is relishing the chance to get stuck into the English.

“I think it’s the responsibility of everyone in the team,” says Roux. “Everyone talks a lot about the physicality they are going to bring, but I think we just need to focus on the physicality we can bring and try and match that because we can’t take a backward step this week.

“I am obviously delighted to be involved first of all and then to get the start is very exciting. I just have to make sure that I back last week’s performance up.”

Mike Sherry joins Gavan and Murray on The42 Rugby Weekly to preview the big one in Twickenham:


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Murray Kinsella

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