Sunday 23 October 2016

Sean: We've to hit form

O'Brien knows Irish game must be upped

Leinster and Ireland flanker Seán O’Brien in the province’s new jersey for the coming season
Leinster and Ireland flanker Seán O’Brien in the province’s new jersey for the coming season

"No news is good news."

So says Seán O'Brien when it comes to the ongoing quiz over the current well-being of Cian Healy.

Will he make it? Won't he make it? The weeks are slipping away.

"He's on a break, a download week this week. I think he's progressing well.

"I haven't talked to him this week. He's away. I didn't hear any bad news anyway," said the Carlow man.

No review, yet, is also a good review when it comes to Ireland's defence against Scotland and how Les Kiss will scold his players back in Carton House next week.

"I looked back on the game myself on Sunday afternoon. We were very standoffish. We didn't go after them enough," O'Brien acknowledged.

"We did, at times, in the second half, but it was definitely a poor reflection of what we're capable of in defence.

"I think the meeting with Les will be nice," he smiled.

That will have to wait.

This week, O'Brien has been able to tear himself away from Ireland's home between Leixlip and Maynooth and touch base with Leinster HQ out in UCD, all in the name of marketing the new Canterbury Leinster kit for this season.

"It's good from a freshness point of view to get out of Carton, get out of camp and away from the bubble for a few days.

"It keeps things fresh and you look forward to going back in then."

O'Brien does have the security of knowing an injury is all that will stop him boarding the World Cup plane.

It doesn't exonerate him from the sort of responsibility which made him captain against Scotland.

"For everybody, it doesn't really matter who you are in the squad or what position you are or the status you have, everyone wants to hit form going into a World Cup.

"That's why you have to play well, as well as being that little link in the chain to make us play well.

"Of course, there are lads who would have been disappointed with some stuff. I missed a tackle myself on the winger at one stage.

"It is a little bit of accuracy. It is a little bit of rustiness from some of us. They are all easily fixable. There was nothing major that stood out.

"We just have to come off the line a bit harder and make our first-up shots."

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