Larder Expects It Tough In The Bay.
2nd June 2005 By Munster Rugby
“Four years ago, England were the only team that had any dedicated defensive coaching in place so you were starting at the base, but this year it has been much easier as all four of the home nations have defensive coaches, and some of them have done an excellent job and it has made both Mike Ford s and my job much easier.
“So what we are really doing at the moment is just tinkering and blending, where four years ago we had to build from very little knowledge from some of the players, but it has been much easier and we can work at a far more intense and sophisticated level.”
Asked how difficult it was to blend the different styles of defensive technique, the different styles of play, Larder continued, “The systems that Wales and Wasps use is very different to what the other nations use but most of these guys are bright enough to adjust but it is a little bit more difficult for some of the guys, and we have had to work a bit harder and there will be one or two problems in the early part of the tour as there always is.
” As we have only had two training sessions since we arrived in New Zealand, some of the guys haven t really developed to the level that we want, so we are still in our infancy of where we want to go. But as the tour develops and as the guys get to know one another they will build up momentum and things will become far more solid. “
And from an attacking point of view what is Larder expecting for the Tests?
“I think that you need to look at each of the teams that we are playing in the build up to the Test series in isolation, ” he said.
“We have spent quite a lot of time looking at the way that the Bay of Plenty attack and we have been fortunate enough to see their recent games.
“But it is important that this Saturday we win and it would be nice to win well because what we are trying to do is give the tour momentum and once we get a touring team into some kind of momentum every game picks up.
“We have looked at the Bay of Plenty, key players and the way that they will play and what it will take to stop them, so we are not looking at the wider picture, we are just looking winning one game at a time.”
And is he expecting a tough game?
“We are expecting a tough game. We fully realise that every team has got an opportunity to play against us and upset our momentum, we are aware that Bay of Plenty are looking forward to having the first shot at us.
Meanwhile, Dr James Robson held a briefing this (Thursday) morning giving details of the two main injury concers, Malcolm O’Kelly and Simon Taylor.
He explained that O Kelly was suffering from a lower abdominal injury and is seeing a New Zealand specialist this afternoon. A further update will be given later today after the visit to the specialist.
He added that the majority of the players have had some sort of medical consultation which is not unusual given that they are professional sportsman. He remarked that this is the healthiest tour party he has ever encountered, with the careful acclimatisation process the squad has recovered well from the jet lag, are now well rested and are set for the challenges ahead.
According to Robson, Simon Taylor s injury to his left hamstring injury may have in years gone by, have ruled him out of the tour. However, with the advances in treatment, the Lions medical team have the ability to give a helping hand to the natural healing process with the techniques that they have on offer, which has a major impact on the recovery times of players.
“Simon has done exceptionally well with his rehabilitation programme and conditioning ,” Robson said, ” and remains upbeat and focussed on his treatment and he will be available for selection shortly.