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Ireland ready to bounce back against Italy

Press Association logoPress Association 5/02/2017

Ireland intend to vent their anger on Italy in Rome next weekend for the slow start that caught them cold in Scotland.

Flanker Sean O'Brien has predicted a brutal review session on Monday when Ireland will pick apart the problems of their 27-22 Six Nations loss to Scotland in Edinburgh.

Stuart Hogg's brace and a third score from Alex Dunbar ensured the Scots prevailed, with Greig Laidlaw landing two decisive late penalties.

Coach Joe Schmidt has admitted an undercooked first-half showing cost Ireland any chance of victory - and O'Brien insists the squad are determined not to let their anger slip any time soon.

"We have to make sure our frustration ensures that we don't repeat the slow start," he said, predicting a fierce reaction in Saturday's clash with Italy in Rome.

"I'm sure that will be the case - because we'll be well reminded of it on Monday when we review this game.

"Scotland put us under a lot of pressure too now, they are a tough side and you have to give them credit but our standards weren't where they should have been."

Ireland rallied from 21-5 down to lead 22-21 in the final third against Scotland, thanks to tries from Keith Earls, Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson.

The visitors were unable to cling on however, with Schmidt later revealing the squad had arrived at the ground 15 minutes late.

Ireland never quite shook off their rushed preparations, with peerless full-back Hogg twice slicing through to stun Schmidt's men.

Centre Dunbar coasted over from a cheeky lineout ruse that caught Ireland napping too, leaving O'Brien to lament an unusually lax start.

The 29-year-old flanker has now challenged Ireland to unleash their latent fury on Conor O'Shea's Azzurri, in a bid to salvage any slim title hopes.

"It is unusual for us to start like that, yeah," said O'Brien.

"We were making a few poor decisions in defence and sitting off them a little bit.

"We probably gave them a little bit too much respect early on, so that's what we've got to put right.

"At this level if you give any international side a lead and momentum like that, they start to come back.

"The championship is still on for us, of course it is - and that's the mindset and what we have to be going after."

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