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Thursday 14 December 2017

Caputo: Mike Ross will cope better with Marler in scrum

Mike Ross, pictured, expects a fearsome scrum battle with France in Dublin on Saturday
Mike Ross, pictured, expects a fearsome scrum battle with France in Dublin on Saturday

Leinster scrum coach Marco Caputo believes Mike Ross is "in a better place now" to deal with England's Joe Marler than when they last met.

The rumours were rife Ireland's anchorman was dropped by Leinster on the back of his struggles against the Harlequins captain in the back-to-back Champions Cup matches.

"It's one of those things that happens, particularly with front-rowers, there are opponents that you do struggle against and everyone's got one," said Caputo.

"And Mike had a particularly tough couple of weeks against Marler."

There were behind-the-scenes reasons for Ross's inadequacies, especially for a man renowned for needing a lot of game time to find his feet. "His pre-season was disrupted. He had some foot and back issues that restricted his involvement.

"It probably didn't help that he was coming into it later on, without as much form as he probably would have had in a normal case had he not had those lingering issues.

"Mike will do his analysis and have a good look at where he went wrong against him in the Harlequins matches.

"He's a clever enough bloke to work out the things he needs to put right to put in a good performance.

This does not remove the fact Caputo views the England loose-head as a worthy opponent.

"Marler is one of the most improved loose-heads around at the moment.

"If you look at how he was scrummaging a year ago compared to how he's performing now, he's come on leaps and bounds and is by a mile the standout No1 in England.

When it comes to Ross having to turn the tables on Marler, the same applies to England's Dan Cole on Cian Healy, should he start.

"It's funny you mention Dan Cole, because his bogey man seems to be Cian Healy - he doesn't like scrummaging against Cian Healy."

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