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VIDEO – Parling assesses Ireland’s pack

16 March 2012

  • Parling prepares for lineout battle against Ireland
  • "Paul O’Connell missing doesn’t make the challenge any smaller" says Leicester lock

Saturday evening will see England’s second row embroiled in arguably their toughest lineout battle yet as they face Munster pairing Donnacha Ryan and Donnacha O’Callaghan at Twickenham.

Ireland are without their captain and talisman Paul O’Connell – who suffered a knee injury during the 17-17 draw in Paris – but for Geoff Parling, who once again starts alongside Mouritz Botha, the challenge won’t be any easier in his absence.

Talking about the threat of the Irish lineout, he told RFUtv: "They have got an excellent pack as we all know. Paul O’Connell missing doesn’t make that challenge any smaller. Donnacha Ryan has come in and he’s an excellent player. He has got something like five steals in 160 minutes of rugby and he’s nominated for player of the tournament.

"They have got a good pack but we just know we have to concentrate on ourselves and not think too much about what they are doing and concentrate on our drills and make sure we get them right.”

Second row Geoff Parling is hoisted high into the air during a lineout session

Photo: Getty Images

Parling admitted he would have liked the opportunity to test himself against O’Connell, a British and Irish Lion, but said he had huge respect for the Ireland second row and was simply happy to be playing for his country against a pack who would be a "huge threat".

The 28-year-old laughed when he was told that, earlier this week, he had been described as a “complete lineout nause, a nerd and a pleasure to work with” by Forwards Coach Graham Rowntree, who said he was learning a lot from the Leicester lock.

With 19 tackles against Wales and 20 against France, Parling has consistently put in good performances since he came on as a replacement against Scotland at the beginning of the tournament.

But as he has demonstrated before, Parling is never satisfied and he admits he was frustrated to lose two lineouts in Paris.

"I have been happy – I was a lot happier when it was a win against France but I just want to keep going," he explained.

“I just want to work as hard as I can for the team and try and run the lineout to the best of my ability and hopefully do my bit. I’d say that in general with the results over the last few games we’ve been fairly pleased [with the lineout] but there are still things to work on."

Geoff Parling tries to break through the French defence at the Stade de France

Photo: Getty Images

As well as putting on a good performance and getting a win in front of home fans on Saturday, Parling said that this weekend was about proving themselves again in front the management team.

Discussing his experience under interim Head Coach Stuart Lancaster, Parling added: "I’ve really enjoyed what he’s done with the squad in terms of bring everyone together, what he has done off the field.

"I don’t think he could have done much more really over the past few weeks and we just want to make sure, not just for ourselves but for the management team as well, that we go out there and put on a good performance on Saturday."