Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan has dismissed his French counterpart Bernard Laporte's assumption that France hold a psychological edge over his team going into their World Cup campaign after their last-minute Six Nations win on the weekend.
O'Sullivan maintained that the Irish had only been beaten by one unlucky bounce of the ball in Sunday's pulsating clash at Croke Park which saw the Irish lose 20-17, having led 17-13 with a minute to go.
But 48-year-old O'Sullivan, who once again has seen his side fail to justify their tag as Six Nations Grand Slam favorites, insisted that Laporte's claim leading up to the match that were France to prevent Ireland from becoming European champions they would build a crucial psychological edge in their World Cup group were way off the mark.
"I think he might not be as secure in his thoughts as he believes he is," O'Sullivan said.
"When you see the way they won the game there could be more seeds of doubt in his mind. I am not so sure about the psychological effect. When we meet them in the World Cup they will be under tremendous pressure and if we do not reproduce the errors that we have in the past two years against them, then we can win," added O'Sullivan, who nevertheless is winless in five games against the French.
However despite O'Sullivan's protestations that he could not blame anyone for the last-minute try by Vincent Clerc, he was contradicted by defense coach Graham Steadman.
"We gave away two soft tries, especially the last one," the Englishman said.
"There were three players within two meters of him [Clerc] and I would not like that to happen again. Certainly we have got to tighten the ship up against England," added Steadman, referring to the home clash with the world champions on Saturday week.
O'Sullivan, who is looking to win his third Triple Crown during his tenure, said that while England had looked good on occasions in their two wins over Scotland and Italy they had also looked vulnerable but admitted that the Irish needed to shape up.
"We appear to be weak in two areas, the start of the match, which puts us on the back foot and I don't know why that is the case, and secondly sometimes when we play the ball," he said.
However O'Sullivan, who should welcome back inspirational skipper Brian O'Driscoll and scrum-half Peter Stringer for the England match, hoped that the extraordinary atmosphere and occasion of playing their first match at Croke Park -- as was the case against the French -- will have been erased from the system.
"Yes I believe there was an extra edge of nervousness because of the occasion," O'Sullivan said.
"A bit like the spectators on Hill 16 [the end the Irish defended in the first-half,] we let them come at us. Hopefully that emotion is now out of the way and we have got our first match at Croke Park dispensed with," he said.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
When two Spanish soccer players took to the controls of FIFA 20 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw their La Liga match canceled, a stadium-sized virtual audience watched online. The huge digital crowd last week is part of a spectacular boom for the digital gaming industry, as record numbers flock to online servers for distraction, entertainment and friendship with the “real world” seemingly falling apart. Real Betis Balompie striker Borja Iglesias kicked the winning goal using his own digital likeness in the 6-5 battle against Sevilla, which was broadcast on popular video game streaming platform Twitch. It took place at the same time the
BLAME GAME: The Turkish Boxing Federation president blamed the International Olympic Committee, which denied any link between the event and the infections Organizers of the suspended Europe Olympic boxing qualifiers in London on Thursday hit back at accusations of irresponsibility as the number of competitors and coaches testing positive for COVID-19 grew to six. The Croatian Boxing Federation said that three team members had contracted the disease, a day after Turkey reported positives for two boxers and a coach. The event at the Copper Box, featuring hundreds of male and female fighters seeking places at the now-postponed Tokyo Olympic Games, was halted on Monday last week after three days. The International Olympic Committee’s Boxing Task Force (BTF), which organized the event after last year’s suspension