The Ireland captain, Mick Galwey, says he and his team are delighted to have been given a second chance after their Twickenham disaster. The Irish were put to the sword 11 days ago in a 45-11 rout as England gained revenge for their defeat at Lansdowne Road last October.
Despite the drubbing they received the Irish management have resisted the chance to make changes for Saturday's Six Nations match against Scotland in Dublin. And Galwey, who once again stands in as skipper for the injured Keith Wood, is extremely grateful.
"To be honest there is a sense of relief," said the Munster second row. "As a team we felt we didn't perform to our potential last week. Not taking anything away from England because they are a very good side and they played exceptionally well on the day, but I think we made them look a lot better than they were.
"We weren't happy with our performance so it's obviously a confidence booster and we're all delighted to be back in there again. It's fantastic, but when you suffer a defeat like that, being given a vote of confidence is rare.
"I've been around Irish teams for a long time and I'd say it's the first time ever. Even when you've won matches before there was a chance you would have been dropped.
"But when Ireland have lost in the past they've usually gone and made three or four changes in the pack and a few more in the back line. Now they've kept faith with us and, while it's a confidence boost for the players, we know we have to perform to justify being given that second chance. That's more pressure, but it's how we can handle it that counts."
Galwey is hoping the loss to England will sting the Irishmen into a great performance against Scotland, who have traditionally had the upper hand in their head-to-head contests.
"We're hoping for an Irish backlash and that's what we are expecting but, at the same time, coming up against a side like Scotland is going to be very tough. They are a good side and on their day they can beat anybody. We know from history how good they can be."
Their 2000 victory over the Scots at Lansdowne Road was the first since 1988, although the Irish managed a draw in 1994. Galwey said: "There have been a few times when they have been smarter than us.
"I think it's a game Scotland always target and they feel they can win. It's like Ireland going to Cardiff – psychologically we feel we can beat Wales – and I feel it's something the Scots have had on us over the last few years.
"We beat them in the corresponding fixture two years ago, but they turned round and beat us in the autumn, which was very disappointing.
"But we feel that if we perform we can win. But if we don't we could easily get run out of the gate again.
"The bottom line is we know we have to perform to have a chance to win and we know we just have to get the basics right, which is something we didn't do in Twickenham."Reuse content