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Ireland v Scotland Six Nations: Andrew Trimble says team have spring in step after Italy win

By David Kelly

Anarchy has erupted in Carton House. Irish players are blatantly laughing behind the backs of the coaching staff. Sometimes in front of them.

The infamous 'Monday video reviews' are now an almost tedious illustration of the coaches' attention to detail; asked to assess Italy's two tries in Ireland's 58-15 triumph last weekend, Joe Schmidt had mentioned video review with all the bloodthirsty relish of a dentist brandishing his drill.

This Monday was different, however. Late in the game, anticipating yet another line-break on the opposite right wing, Keith Earls showed impressive speed to accelerate from his 22 into the gaping open field.

Earls almost arrived in the opposition half; the ball never followed. You could see the sheepish Earls trudging slowly back into the defensive line. One always wants to avoid the coaching call-out; instead, it was his fellow players who showered him with strident mock-deprecation.

Ulsterman Andrew Trimble chuckled: "He had no idea what line he was trying to take himself."

School's almost out for summer. Sometimes it does a fella good to let loose.

The smiles have returned to Irish rugby; as much as the squad will have countered that they never went away, anyone who endured that grim defeat in Paris cannot recall too many upside-down frowns.

"That's the effect a win has," offered Trimble in explanation of the renewed mood. "Everyone has a sigh of relief and gets on with it."

The mood - and the siege mentality - has been lifted.

If the players did not have their feelings ferried to a different postcode thanks to the nine-try romp against Italy - their first win of the Six Nations campaign - then their hearts must be unyielding to even the tiniest flicker of emotion.

And so they chortled and rollicked their way through much of the early part of this week, even spraying the normally austere video review with their unrestrained laughter.

"If anything this week, we'd a laid-back day on Monday," reported Trimble.

"We'd a bit of a get-together with the coffee guys, the Bewley's barista who came fourth in some championship.

"That was a big of a giggle. And then laughing at Earlsy in the video review."

Latte art was the focus and the squad's artist, Cian Healy, unsurprisingly carried off the hamper by creamily copying a self-image atop his cup; sadly, Luke Marshall's cup spilleth over, the victim of an unfortunate knock-on.

The effervescence that oozed through on Saturday has been prolonged, hopefully for long enough to propel Ireland towards a similar success against Scotland this weekend.

"There is going to be massive intensity this weekend but it's nice to remember we're out here to enjoy ourselves and we do that by winning matches and playing good rugby," said Trimble.

"That's what we want to do. As much as we're a little bit laid-back at times, we then turn the screw when we're on the pitch and we get our standards back through the roof again. Just getting that balance is very good and Joe is driving that."

Schmidt is not necessarily the comic villain; that fourth try before half-time was as much his reward as it was the players'.

"It's an emphasis of Joe, when someone makes that line-break that we get up and support and don't get too bogged down in what the next phase is," explained Trimble. "If we get a line-break, all bets are off. Ultimately, we just want to play rugby. That's why we're here."

Ireland hope that lightening the mood off the field can continue to translate to liberation on it. The stakes remain high, for all this weekend's fixture's appearance of being a dead rubber.

"For us, coming fifth isn't acceptable from our point of view," Trimble added. "We have a spring in our step now."

And a smile in their hearts.

Belfast Telegraph


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