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Ireland scrum coach Greg Feek urges unity to suppress aggressive Italy scrum

Published 01/10/2015

Jared Payne, pictured, remains a big doubt for Ireland's World Cup clash with Italy with a bruised foot
Jared Payne, pictured, remains a big doubt for Ireland's World Cup clash with Italy with a bruised foot

Ireland must keep their cool and suffocate Italy at the scrum to secure their World Cup quarter-final berth, according to Greg Feek.

Specialist scrum coach Feek has challenged Ireland to fend off Italy's fiery and bullish set-piece work to starve the Azzurri of a chance to launch their attacking platform.

Rob Kearney could yet fail to recover from his gluteal strain and Jared Payne his bruised foot, ahead of Ireland's pivotal Pool D clash at London's Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

Simon Zebo is primed to slot in at full-back while Keith Earls could start at outside centre as Joe Schmidt's side chase their third successive pool-stage victory.

"They are very aggressive at scrum-time, they are very passionate about it and they are all in there," said Feek.

"They like to walk over the ball so that means they have to push you off it basically.

"So that's means every time they have a scrum it's going to be hard yards.

"So we need to get the mindset and everything else we've done right, to be able to combat that.

"We've got to be clinical and not let the emotion cloud what we do."

Veteran Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni remains a doubt to face Ireland, while Leicester hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini is unlikely to be ready in time for Sunday's clash.

Inspirational captain Sergio Parisse is expected to recover from his calf haematoma just in time for his first action of this World Cup, while Robbie Henshaw is fit for Ireland after hamstring trouble.

Ireland scrum mastermind Feek has warned his squad that Italy will try to whip up a front-foot frenzy through their pack.

"The mental side of things is important of course, but also it's the collective side - we don't want boys doing their own thing," said Feek.

"We have a process that if everyone does right it will build that confidence anyway.

"It's a battle within a battle, and that's the mentality we need.

"We've got to try to stop them getting in the game through their scrum.

"They might even try to exit that way through trying to win a penalty.

"So if they can't do that then they have to play, and all those little things come into play in matches like this.

"We've got a French referee in Jerome (Garces) and we've taken that into account, and I'm sure the Italians will have as well.

"A good surface will help and I think the attitudes of the players, it comes down to them as well."

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