Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

O'Sullivan keeps his masterplan under wraps

While Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan has admitted that his side will largely be keeping their powder dry in terms of tactics, moves and options before the World Cup kicks-off, the Ravenhill crowd will be treated to a full-on display by the home side.

In essence the last few weeks have been something of a phoney war as the main contenders struggle with the dilemma of needing warm-up matches against each other but also keeping most of their tricks up their sleeves for the main event.

O'Sullivan was aware of France's video analyst's presence during their match against Bayonne last Thursday and was not perturbed by it.

"You keep your powder dry as much as you can," he said.

"All our lineouts won't be seen again. What we're using at the moment won't be used in the World Cup.

"Our set plays would be in our back pocket as well and depending who you are playing our line speed and defensive alignment might be different.

" And there are other bits and pieces; your kicking game out of your defensive zone is kept under wrap.

"But what doesn't change is that there are going to be rucks and mauls, scrums and lineouts, and tackles and off-loads. All those will happen and you play those as best you can.

"That's what we have been working at mainly, working better as mini units. At ruck time particularly and at attack time, keeping our defensive line in shape.

"There is a lot you can get out of it without giving away what's going to happen at the World Cup.

"But everyone's at that. I wouldn't be reading anything into anything I've seen in any of the warm-up games."

Meanwhile, Argentina centre Martin Gaitan is resigned to missing the World Cup following the heart problems he suffered in Cardiff on Saturday.

The Biarritz player fainted in the dressing room after the 27-20 loss to Wales at Millennium Stadium, and was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a partial tear in the coronary artery.

The 29-year-old insists he is recovering well and is expected to be discharged today, but Pumas team doctor Mario Larrain believes it is too early to tell whether he will be able to resume his rugby career.

Gaitan said: "I'm very fine and much calmer now. People here treated me very well."

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