Mike Ross understands how fickle public perception of Irish rugby success can be and that it will be viewed through the prism of this Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations finale against England

Yet the former Ireland tighthead prop believes the current squad is heading in the right direction under head coach Andy Farrell and the performance in victory over Scotland at Murrayfield has shown him enough to suggest that if the Irish management can combine all the facets consistently over 80 minutes they could be a team of more than the sum of its parts.

Ross was speaking yesterday to launch ISPCC Childline’s ‘Team Of Us-Together for Childline’ competition, backed by Vodafone and Irish Rugby. He said the Ireland camp would be “irritated by the lack of consistency” in building a dominant position at 24-10 after 50 minutes only to let the Scots level the scores inside the final 10 minutes before Johnny Sexton rescued the win with a late penalty. Yet he added that Ireland were moving in the right direction and gave a special mention to the work of new forwards coach and former team-mate Paul O’Connell.

“I think they are. The set-piece is good. They absolutely crucified the Scottish lineout. What was it? The Scots won two (successful throws from eight). Those are ridiculous stats, so Paulie has come in and made an impact. The scrum, we got one penalty (against) but to my eyes, it looked a little bit wily with WP Nel going in at a bit of an angle which I know he loves to do.

Mike Ross at the launch ISPCC Childline’s ‘Team Of Us-Together for Childline’ competition. The competition gives Irish Rugby supporters the chance to win one of the players’ signed matchday jerseys from the 23-man squad that will face England. To be in with a chance of winning one of the jerseys, simply make a donation of at least €10 to TeamOfUs for ISPCC Childline.

The Irish Examiner – 16 March 2021
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