Jack McGrath hits back at Matt Williams' criticism of Irish rugby team

Jack McGrath has dismissed Matt Williams' criticism of Ireland's Six Nations winning team.

The former Leinster head coach branded Joe Schmidt's team 'boring' after the weekend's win over Scotland at Aviva Stadium.

The win, allied to England's later defeat in Paris, helped Ireland to a third title in five years – the best return since the early 1950s.

But not everyone was pleased, with Williams saying the team simply bullied the opposition and "there was no joy" to be gotten watching them.

“I don't listen to people like that,” McGrath snapped. “I didn't hear that, but he can say what he wants, I don't really care,” he said.

Ireland have blocked out more than just Williams' comments this week, with a second grand slam in a decade on the line.

England have yet to lose at home under Eddie Jones, while Ireland have not won at Twickenham since 2010.

It all adds up to a daunting task for Schmidt's men, but McGrath says the team are not looking at the match differently to any other.

“For us, honestly, it's just another game,” he said. “There's so much experience in the squad, we've all had massive games before, we're just taking it bit by bit.

“After every game there's always improvements, but we have been learning every game, for us it's just implementing a plan to go forward into the England game.

“Scotland was a different Test and we've learned a lot from what we've done.

“I don't think there's ever a lack of emotion in an Ireland v England game, especially on Paddy's day at Twickenham, that will take care of itself.

“The main thing is to get our own roles right, not play the game by Tuesday and be left wanting on Saturday.”

McGrath is one of a handful of Ireland players who got to know their opposite numbers well on last summer's Lions tour, a familiarity that may help with Saturday's challenge.

“Knowing your enemy is always good,” he said. “It's good to know them, and they know us as well. It's going to make for an interesting battle. They haven't lost at Twickenham under Eddie Jones, while we haven't won there in a long time.”

Richie Murphy, the Ireland kicking coach who said Johnny Sexton is back to 100% after managing his training load last week, says Ireland will have to up their game to win in England.

“Look we are going to have to be a little bit better than we have been already,” said Murphy.

“We have built into the Six Nations quite nicely with the three home performances but I wouldn’t say we have been perfect by any means.

"We have had a look back and each week picked out areas of our game that we want to improve. We feel like we are moving in the right direction but going to Twickenham on Saturday you are going to have to be very close to being perfect.

"At this moment in time we still feel we are a little bit off that."

On this week's Paper Talk podcast: A step on Limerick's journey, Kerry 'chastened' and Dubs put paid to The Savage Hunger

- Irish Examiner

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