When England defence coach John Mitchell said Ireland “would try to bore the shit out of us”, it was inevitable that the comment would be raised to Ireland forwards coach Simon Easterby when he spoke to the media at Carton House this afternoon.
To be fair to Mitchell, in the same interview with BBC Sport, he was quite complimentary of Ireland and this is what Easterby, who was well prepared for the question, told a packed room.
“I think it’s a headline,” Easterby said.
“I think if you look at the article and read a bit more about what he actually said, I don’t think it’s too much to read into. We focus on what we do. We’re good at what we do. There will always be an opinion about whatever team is playing, however a team plays, no matter how good they are, how poor they are, there’s always going to be an opinion.
“We’ll take that in our stride and look forward to creating a game at the weekend which we feel we’re capable of.”
Many believe the boring comment is sort of a back-handed compliment as it relates to Ireland’s ability to hold onto possession for long periods – one of the key aspects to the team’s success in recent years.
Whether this a ploy to get under the skin or cause a distraction in the Ireland camp, Easterby believes that it’s not something the players and coaches will focus on too much.
“Guys use motivation in whatever way they want individually but for us as a team and a squad, we don’t take too much interest in what is being said outside of that.
“It is what it is. I think it’s a bit of a headline and we’re just focussing on how good we can be at the weekend. Let’s see how the game goes.”
Easterby also confirmed during today’s media briefing that Ireland have a clean bill of health going into Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated clash.
“Yeah, everyone came through [training]. We’ve been very lucky with the injury list at the moment. We got a pretty healthy squad of players and that obviously creates a fair bit of competition and competitiveness in training is up to the level you would expect.”