Ross: England wanted it more, Ireland caught cold but better now than later
Ross: England wanted it more, Ireland caught cold but better now than later

Ross: England wanted it more, Ireland caught cold but better now than later

“I WAS WATCHING it from the lower east stand and I suppose about 60 minutes in, I started to get the hip flask out,” Mike Ross frowns to a few laughs from around the room.

In his half-joking, half-serious sense of humour, he may as well add a bit of light to a dull situation for Joe Schmidt’s side.

His main takeaway though: England wanted it a little bit more and Ireland, maybe, were caught cold. It’s better it happen now than later in the year, with a World Cup looming.

Ireland Women’s scrum coach and ex-Leinster and Ireland prop Mike Ross. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The Ireland women’s scrum coach is up for interview at their pre-Scotland Six Nations press conference where he talks enthusiastically about his role, the ever-improving scrum and how much last week’s heavy defeat to England on Friday at Donnybrook stung.

The further stinging events at the Aviva on Saturday evening are bound to come up at some stage and when they do, former Ireland and Leinster prop Ross is happy to share his opinion.

“Look, England did to us what we did to them last year. That’s what happened,” he tells the media on a chilly Monday evening in the Sandymount Hotel, just around the corner from the scene of the crime. Simple as.

“I mean I’ve been on sides that have been watching teams get the plaudits and just quietly stewing and look, they’ve been stewing for a year over it.”

“You’ve got to take your hat off to them,” he continues on England. “They played really well, they nullified all of our strengths but at the same time I don’t think we really got out of the gate.

“We conceded a relatively soft try after two minutes and then there was that mix-up in the back field that allowed them (to capitalise) — Jacob Stockdale didn’t quite control the ball and they pounced on that. And then there was the interception.

“The lads will be upset, annoyed, frustrated and a bit embarrassed yesterday. They would have had the mother and father of all video reviews this morning. There’ll be a few lads with stripes on their backs.”

Dejection after the game. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

While Schmidt lamented a quiet dressing room before Saturday’s ‘reality check,’ 39-year-old Ross has experienced that on several occasions through his own career but can’t exactly put his finger on what it is during the build-up that causes that silence.

“Lads will have prepared very well,” the Corkman continues, “they’ll have trained very well, know all the things they have to do, but sometimes when you come up against a team that’s just…

“I suppose England were heart sick watching us win the Grand Slam in their own back patch. That’s massive motivation. You can’t underestimate that motivation.

He doesn’t feel that physicality is a concern, despite Schmidt opining that there was a lack of ‘simmering physical intensity’ afterwards while it’s been said that teams will try to bully Ireland in that regard.

“Our players are just as physical as everyone else. Physicality is just a mindset. If you look at the stats: We don’t have a light pack,” he continued.

“Tadhg Furlong is as big as any tighthead out there. James Ryan is as big as any second row. Jack Conan, CJ Stander and all these guys pair up very favourably.

With all focus switching to Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon, all eyes are on the 2018 Grand Slam champions and whether they can bounce back.

At the Ireland Women’s press event. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The Scots will fancy their chances, Ross agrees.

“Scotland always fancy their chances,” he concludes. “They’ve a really good squad, probably one of the best squads they’ve had in years.

“Gregor Townsend has done a great job with them and they’ve probably more strength-in-depth than they’ve had in a very long time too.

“Their provinces are going well in the European Cup, so yeah they’ll be actually waiting for us up in Murrayfield.”

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