Sean O'Brien and Gert Smal at Tuesday's press conference. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Sean O'Brien: Cut down our errors and we can push the All Blacks hard

The Leinster man is ready for the season’s final thrusts while the slow recoveries of Cian Healy and Mike Ross may lead to a front row shake-up.

IRELAND ARE STICKING to the party line that they are the masters of their own destiny in New Zealand.

Peter O’Mahony was eager to stress to on Saturday evening, after Ireland’s 42-10 loss to the All Blacks, that his team could still pose a significant challenge if they cut down on simple errors.

Speaking from the team’s hotel in Auckland on Tuesday, Sean O’Brien, O’Mahony’s back row colleague, picked up the thread. He said:

There were a lot of handling errors (on Saturday). I had a couple myself. At the breakdown, too, we can go a little better there.

“If we could cut our errors, focus more on our game, and play a little bit more we should put in a better performance.”

You can listen to the full interview by clicking here.

Two last hurrahs

O’Brien denied that the Irish squad were not at ‘breaking point’ due to their 11 month schedule and declared they would be ‘going hard’ for the last two Test matches.

Forwards coach Gert Smal added, “We just need to be a bit more accurate in our execution, especially in the high, attacking areas where we can score tries.”

The South Africa native says his side has refocused this week but he remains awestruck with the talented player pool available to the All Blacks.

He remarked, “I don’t know where they pick their players out (of). It is an amazing amount of talent that they have got here.

This group is very special I think. But, saying that, we’re not going to just sit back and see what they can do.

“We showed that, two years ago, when we had 14 men but we still scored a few tries. We have to show that again.”

The wounded front row

Cian Healy took no part in the squad’s training while Mike Ross made fleeting appearances in scrimmages.

Declan Fitzpatrick is recovering well from his hamstring strain but it seems likely that Connacht prop Ronan Loughney, who made his debut on Saturday, will see more game time.

Loughney was 20-years-old when he watched All Black captain Richie McCaw make his international debut at Lansdowne Road in 2005. He rates McCaw as one of his rugby heroes. He commented:

That is what you aspire to, to be at his level. It was a great experience to be playing against him.

“It was a difficult result but it is good to get a taste of what that level is like,” he added.

“It is another step up again and I’m hoping to get another opportunity.”

*You can follow all the latest news, comments and goings on from the Irish camp by following @patmccarry on Twitter and by regularly checking in with

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