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Strauss: Competition For Places Is Driving Six Nations Squad On

Ireland hooker Richardt Strauss believes the competition for places in the squad is a driving the players on as Ireland face England Saxons tonight.


Strauss is one of four hookers in Joe Schmidt’s extended squad but Leinster’s South African born front row forward says he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“That’s the way we would prefer it to know there’s a competitive squad,” said Strauss.

“The way we’ve looked at it in the last few years, is that if the team’s successful that’s a positive for everyone in the squad.”

“The biggest mistake you can make in games like this is try to do things on yourself. I’ve got to make the team be successful, for me this week it’s just trying to get the set-piece nailed and do the basics right. And then whatever happens happens.”
The competition for that front row birth at international level has been mirrored at provincial level with Strauss battling it out with Sean Cronin and Mike Ross for game time. But despite the disappointment that comes with lesser game time, Strauss is eager to lay down a marker this weekend and put his hand up for selection for Italy.
“Everyone wants to put up their hand you know. You have to be realistic, in my case it’s possible but highly unlikely. We’ve been told selection’s open for the Italy game, so everyone’s got to play as well as they can.”
“Mike (Ross) is good, he got a good bit of work at Leinster and at his age it’s no bad thing having some time off. So he’ll be keen to stick up his hand and show what he’s made of. Obviously it’s tough everyone wants to to be playing, I understand where I’m coming from and know I need to be patient.”
Strauss believes the best way to stay on top form is to get increased amounts of game time. And while he says he needs to put pressure on Matt O’Connor in terms of selection at Leinster he knows both coaches are out to pick their best team. With such a short turnaround between now and the opening game against Italy, Strauss also insists Head Coach Joe Schmidt keeps the players in the dark as much as he does the media and the public regards his selection.
“Exactly the same with us, Joe’s always been like that and that’s a good thing. He keeps you on your toes, and if you make mistakes Joe will pick you up on them, no doubt. Some of the lads need some game time and others like myself need to push for places in the Six Nations.”“We’ve all been combined together more or less (for training). We’ve broken away towards the end of the week. We’ve got a good knowledge of each other, so we’ll be alright.”
Cillian O Conchuir, Pundit Arena

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