Six Nations 2012: ‘Ireland always raise their game against England’

Ireland lock Donncha O'Callaghan admits Ireland always raise their game against England ahead of their clash on Saturday

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Ireland take on England at Twickenham on Saturday Photo: M+MD, via Flickr

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Donncha O’Callaghan has further stoked the fires ahead of Ireland’s visit to Twickenham on Saturday, admitting while England’s shirts are white, they serve as red rags to a bull for his side.

The 32-year-old’s comments follow those of teammates Stephen Ferris, who has labelled England ‘bad losers’ while Rob Kearney and Rory Best believe Ireland’s recent dominance has been because they are the superior side.

And that dominance is unquestioned as Ireland have prevailed in seven of the last eight Six Nations clashes between the two sides, including on three of their last four visits to Twickenham.

And O’Callaghan, who admits spending time with English players on Lions tours has changed his perceptions, revealed the sight of the Red Rose shirt pushes all of Ireland’s buttons.

“I wouldn’t say I’m friendly with any of their players, but I’ve been on Lions tours with them,” he said.

“The biggest thing I’ve taken away those tours is that you can build up a perception of people before you actually get to know to them.

“I remember going on Lions tours believing half these guys are idiots and that I wouldn’t like them, only to come away thinking they’re the soundest guys you could meet.

“But come Saturday they’ll be in an England shirt and nothing will change in the way we treat them.

“England shirts are a red rag to the Irish. When we play England in anything, we want to do well and perform. Maybe it goes back to Euro 88 [the Republic of Ireland beat England 1-0] or something like that – you tend to remember great days of Irish results against England teams.”

© Sportsbeat 2012

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