herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Donncha's desperate to atone

Clash with Scots can't come a moment too soon for lock who's feeling burden of defeat to France

The hours, the days, the two weeks can't pass quickly enough for Ireland lock Donncha O'Callaghan as he looks to make amends for the one that got away against France.

"It is like being in purgatory at the moment. You just have to go through it and carry the burden of a loss," he said, ahead of Ireland's next Six Nations outing away to Scotland on Sunday.

"It can be a good thing in ways because it can fester and make you perform better the next time you get your chance. Fellas can keep that bit of drive and bitterness -- whatever it takes to put in a big performance.

"We're at the level now where you judge results only. You don't take an awful lot of merit out of games yourself if you produce the goods and the team comes in without a win."

The sure progress of Scotland under Andy Robinson found best expression in wins over Ireland and Argentina (twice) last season and South Africa in November. Since then, they have been brought down to earth with a thud from successive defeats away to France and at home to Wales.



Fierce

"Last year, we under-respected them. We went in flat-footed and got handed our hats. They are fierce proud, fierce passionate and at home as well," said O'Callaghan.

Good news for Ireland is potentially bad news for Leinster's Fergus McFadden as Tommy Bowe played out the entire 80 minutes for The Ospreys in the Magners League on Saturday. The Monaghan man wanted to prove his fitness from a knee injury to Ireland coach Declan Kidney and he did so by playing a full and prominent part for his club.

Common sense dictates that the British and Irish Lions wing will come straight back into the national side for the first time since playing straight through all four November internationals.

Ulster's Andrew Trimble is bang in form too. He was very good for his club in Edinburgh on Friday night. He could also challenge for a start in front of Keith Earls on the left wing.

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