Ireland assistant Simon Easterby responds to English 'bore the s*** out of us' comment
As much as the Ireland assistant coach was pressed, he tried not to take the bait.
Simon Easterby would have been expecting this question - and these questions - at the Tuesday afternoon press briefing, at Carton House. He handled the question well, all eight variations on it.
In an interview with the BBC's Rugby Union Weekly, England assistant John Mitchell commented:
"Ireland are arguably the best in the world and, for me, are a side who - through their process being a well-coached side - are resilient and they will try to bore the shit out of us basically."
Mitchell is new to the England fold but, as a long-time international coach, is savvy enough about expressing his views to the media. The former New Zealand head coach was simply following on from Eddie Jones' three years of suggesting Ireland are dull as dish-water.
Asked about those Mitchell comments, Easterby said:
"I think that was a headline.... there was more meat, and depth, to the piece itself. We focus on what we do and we're good at what we do. There is always going to be an opinion about how you play, no matter how well you play or poorly you play... We're just focusing on how well we can be at the weekend."
Easterby's response very much towed the line with players CJ Stander and Joey Carbery, who preceded him in the briefing room.
"What a way to start the 6 Nations... England have some powerful athletes out there... I don't really read that stuff (from Eddie Jones)" - CJ Stander
— Pat McCarry (@patmccarry) January 29, 2019
Easterby also provided a very positive fitness update after this morning's training run, which will be the heaviest of the week.
"Everyone came through [training]. We've been fairly luck with the injury list at the moment. We have a very healthy squad of players... that creates a lot of competition.
"Every team strives for depth and quality and we are no different. The quality of squad we have here at Carton House is strong and that keeps everyone on their toes."
Asked if outhalf Johnny Sexton, who has not played since December 29, would be okay if pick to play from the start, on Saturday, Easterby responded, "Yeah, for sure.
"Certain players need game on game to get back to that level, but Johnny is probably not one of them... Yeah, don't get me wrong, match fitness is second to none... but we've got the balance right to get him up to speed."
As for the second row department, now that it is shorn of Tadhg Beirne and Iain Henderson, Easterby expressed his faith in two Connacht men called up for the opening rounds of the Guinness Six Nations.
"Ultan Dillane came on in England a couple of years ago and made a big impact, and Quinn Roux has been in with us for a while now... I have no issues with guys coming in who may not have been with us originally."
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