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Irish need discipline and accuracy

Sportal.co.nz     14 Jun 2006    

It was a lack of discipline when a scrum was turned into a penalty after back chat to referee Stuart Dickinson that turned the first Test for the All Blacks, O'Sullivan said.

"We defended really, really well for long phases and then ultimately gave up a soft penalty which is really the worst, possible sin.

"If you give away a penalty you should probably do it off the first phase. I was disappointed with that.

"I think our discipline throughout the Six Nations has been extraordinarily good but we let ourselves down in the second half in that department," he said.

While the side was under pressure, it is in those situations that discipline was vital, he said.

"They got a try early in the second half and we responded so after that it was really down to discipline. That is something we can improve on quite dramatically."

Accuracy is another area for concentrated improvement.

When the side was accurate in the first Test it managed to turn the pressure onto the All Blacks but while the accuracy achieved in the Six Nations was one thing, playing the All Blacks is another level up and it is much more difficult to be as accurate.

But those points were easily fixable and O'Sullivan was sure, Ireland could lift its game another step to compete on Saturday.

New Zealand's stormy weather this week could have an effect on the conditions at Eden Park, and certainly the ability to play the expansive game.

"The expansive game and offload game is more difficult in wet conditions and it doesn't suit New Zealand either. I don't think it suits them more than it does us anymore.

"There might have been times when they would have been happy with those conditions. Those days are well past us now.

"It would probably be harder for us to play a slogging game with them because they are a bigger side," he said.