‘We’re very confident’ – Ireland determined to fix ‘fine details’ in Springboks rematch

Adam Kyriacou
Ireland duo Ronan Kelleher and Ryan Baird.

Ireland duo Ronan Kelleher and Ryan Baird.

Ireland hooker Ronan Kelleher insists the team is “very confident” they can bounce back with a win over the Springboks in Saturday’s second Test in Durban.

Kelleher, who is expected to start due to a knee injury to Dan Sheehan, believes Ireland can make the necessary changes required to level the series at Kings Park.

Andy Farrell’s men fell to a 27-20 defeat to South Africa in Pretoria as they came out on the wrong side of the finer details, with one moment involving Kelleher.

Kelleher penalised

Last Saturday’s replacement hooker was penalised for playing the ball on the ground at a ruck before James Lowe sprinted away for a try that was later chalked off.

When asked about the incident, Kelleher admits it is something the team has put behind them as they look to respond and “better ourselves” in the second match.

“It’s tough in the heat of the moment really,” he told reporters.

“I kind of went in trying to pump the ball backwards and obviously it is those fine, fine margins in Test matches that decide things and unfortunately we came at the wrong side of it.

“But we’re not dwelling on that. We are looking to control what we can control, I suppose, and to leave all that aside. We have to just get better ourselves throughout the whole game.

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“We’re very confident. It was more about the little, fine details that we’re gonna have to try and fix to try to change the outcome of some of the moments from the previous game.”

Sheehan’s injury is compounded by scrum-half Craig Casey missing this week’s Test due to concussion, but Kelleher insists they’re confident they can tie the series.

“Obviously there was a time in the game where it went well and maybe at times it dropped off a touch,” he said.

“It’s just about nit-picking through those little details we might have gotten wrong or we weren’t accurate with and try to right those wrongs this weekend.

“We’ve kind of turned the page. We are all looking forward to this weekend.”

Speaking about the absence of his Leinster and Ireland team-mate Sheehan, Kelleher admits that he’s a “big loss” to the side but they cannot dwell on the setback.

“He’ll be a big loss but there’s competition in the squad and we have to make sure we do our job and make sure that we put our best foot forward and make sure we leave the team in a good place,” he said of Sheehan.

“You never want to see a team-mate injured or hurt or anything like that. So, I wouldn’t say bittersweet at all, it is kind of unfortunate, that’s sport.

“We have to deal with that as a group and move on quickly.”

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