Dan Sheridan/INPHO Simon Easterby at Carton House today.

Simon Easterby: Any issues with Irish lineout have already been fixed

The forwards coach is preparing for a trip to Murrayfield.

IRELAND’S GRAND SLAM bid may have been derailed by defeat in Cardiff last week, but the championship is still very much alive.

Everyone in Joe Schmidt’s squad trained today at Carton House, according to forwards coach Simon Easterby.

“There are a few sore bodies after a pretty attritional game on the weekend but everyone was available to train which is a good sign,” he told reporters at the Kildare venue earlier.

One of the aspects the coaching staff will no doubt focus on ahead of a finale in Edinburgh on Saturday is the lineout, which malfunctioned at times against Wales.

“Yes it was (a disappointment),” agreed Easterby. “Sometimes you get a bit of error from what we did, not quite as accurate as we would have liked. I thought that Wales defended a couple of lineouts particularly well also.

“You can’t always account for how well they’re going to defend those. We dropped our standards, no doubt.

“Certainly in the first half we didn’t react particularly well on our own ball but also theirs; we gave them some serious momentum. We turned it around in the second half, we fixed a few things and were far more dominant. All the things we didn’t get right are easily fixable and have been in the first couple of days this week.”

Easterby is expecting another challenge at lineout time from the Scots.

“Of course. They had a pretty effective lineout on the weekend, won all of theirs and stole of a few of England’s,” he says.

“They’re very tricky opposition. They are well drilled, well coached. I know Jonathan Humphreys who coaches their forwards from his days at the Ospreys and also obviously Vern (Cotter) coming in now has made a huge contribution to what they do up front, their forward play.

“They pose a huge threat right across their forward pack but they also have a backline that can complement that forward play.”


Ireland obviously need a win at Edinburgh as well as possibly needing a few scores to spare in order to defend the championship. But Easterby insists no one’s getting ahead of themselves.

“You’ve got to focus on what you can do in that 80 minutes. We’ve got to focus on what we can produce in Murrayfield. The performance first and foremost will give us the right result and what goes outside of our environment in Rome and London is exactly that, it is outside our control and we can’t factor that into what we’re doing in the 80 minutes against Scotland.

“They are going to make it difficult enough as it is without us focusing on what else is going on elsewhere. We’ve got to focus on our job and make sure that is right and hopefully that puts us in the best possible position come Saturday evening,” he says.

Ireland face Scotland before England take on France in London, giving Stuart Lancaster’s side the advantage of knowing their target, leaving some to question the integrity of the competition this week.

“That is not really my control,” he says of the order of play. “We are the second game. The other results throughout the competition have led to this happening. That is not relevant. We can’t control who plays first, second or third on the last day. Certainly I’m not going to start suggesting what should be happening to the tournament organisers before the last weekend.

“We just have to focus on what we can do and the fixtures have been in place for a long time. That is the way it is. Some years it falls for you and some years it doesn’t. That is maybe the case this year.”

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