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19th Nov 2014

Jack McGrath on how the forwards are preparing for the Australian challenge

The Leinster prop offers insight into the training regimes ahead of Saturday

Darragh Murphy

Jack McGrath is set to start at loosehead prop against Australia on Saturday afternoon and the Leinster man has spoken about how Ireland have upped their preparation ahead of this weekend’s clash.

McGrath is set to earn his 12th cap against the Aussies. He clearly remembers this fixture last year when Ireland were seen off 32-15 by Australia and claims that steps have been made to address their shortcomings last time around.

“It was the second match for Joe [Schmidt] and the second match for me as well. It brought me back down to earth after a good start to my international campaign,” McGrath said yesterday.

“We learned a lot from last year and we’ve been doing a lot of work over the last few weeks on these guys because they are very dangerous when they get going.

“We’ve looked back because there’s a lot of similar players. Most of the squad that came last year is here.”

McGrath went into detail into how the forwards prepare for the scrum game of their opponents in the build-up to games and how they pre-empt the tactics of other teams.

Stephen Archer and Jack McGrath 6/11/2014

He explained: “There is a lot of video work but you have to adapt your scrum as well. The way the game has gone, every opponent you come up against has so much video analysis now that they can change their set-up so we have to be aware of that.

“You do have to change it around because, if you’re doing the same thing every time, you’re going to get found out.”

McGrath stressed the importance of maintaining the balance between watching opponents’ footage and live training in order to best prepare for the battle of the forwards.

He revealed: “You definitely have to do a good amount of it [live scrummaging] to get a good hit. Obviously some of the guys were a bit stiff from Sunday but we did some today and it went pretty well. There were a few things we needed to tweak because we did struggle against South Africa but I thought we were much better against Georgia.

The success of the Irish maul has continued over seamlessly from last season and McGrath puts that down to the intelligent way that the forwards drill that element of the game.

He said: “You can’t do a whole lot of it because you can’t be beating each other up but you have to do maybe one or two every session. You can’t do eight or ten because the bodies won’t hold up to it because the game’s gotten so physical. You can even just walk through your own role and do a lot of it with visualisation.”

When asked about how he is finding the transition between his seniority with Leinster to breaking into the Irish set-up, McGrath explained that the authority figures that are already in place for the national team have perfected the art of leadership

McGrath said: “I suppose when you play a bit more of a senior role in Leinster, you have confidence when you come into the Irish squad. The leadership group here have it all down to a tee so you just have to get on with your own job.”

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