11 Mar 14
The Munster squad trained at a sunny CIT today after a week's break as preparations begin for the RaboDirect PRO12 clash against Treviso at Thomond Park on Saturday, March 22nd (ko 7:15pm).
"But you know what ? None of this should matter."
As far as O'Sullivan in concerned it will be a case of more of the same as the Italians try to beat-up the Irish, "attack Ireland today like mad dogs in a meat house," as has always been the case, a tactic Ireland should be well prepared for.
"People can parrot on about the power of Italy's scrum, but they were doing the same last year and it didn't make a whit of difference at Croke Park." he says while the area where'll they'll struggle will be at half back.
" So with Edoardo Gori and Kristopher Burton, who have amassed a grand total of six caps between them, starting today in Rome, Italy are extremely vulnerable. Going in to battle in the Six Nations with untried half-backs is like sending Columbus off in search of America without the benefit of a compass."
And you know what ? He's dead right.
And to understand the threat the Italian outside backline pose, ask yourself the question, what Italian players would you swop for those Irish today wearing numbers 11-15 ?
O'Sullivan believes that, "Ireland will do what they have always done. They will keep their heads during the onslaught and at some point (usually about 10 minutes before half-time) strike with a precision that leaves Italy hanging on by their fingernails for the half-time whistle.
Here's hoping he's right.
Ireland: L Fitzgerald; F McFadden, B O'Driscoll capt, G D'Arcy, K Earls; J Sexton, T O'Leary; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell; D Leamy, D Wallace, S O'Brien. Replacements: S Cronin, T Court, L Cullen, S Jennings, E Reddan, R O'Gara, P Wallace.
Italy: L McLean; A Masi, G Canale, A Sgarbi, M Bergamasco; K Burton, E Gori; S Perugini, L Ghiraldini, M Castrogiovanni; S Delape, Q Geldenhuys; J Sole, A Zani, S Parisse capt Replacements: F Ongaro, A Lo Cicero, C Del Fava, V Bernabo, P Canavosio, L Orquera, G Garcia.