George and Sam Underhill were speaking to reporters ahead of their key pool encounter with Argentina on Saturday. Yesterday scrumhalf Willie Heinz told reporters that forwards sweating in the heat was the real cause of the difficult to handle balls.
“For some reason it feels different to a rainy ball. Every now and then you think you have a good handle on the ball and just as it comes out of your hand it does something unexpected and you lose that purchase.
“All teams are working hard on it and we are putting a bit of soap on the ball to try and replicate those conditions. I haven’t used gloves but I did try a bit of tape on the ends of my fingers and that seemed to be quite useful so maybe have a crack at that.”
The Gloucester scrumhalf was adamant it was sweaty forwards who were at fault for the hard to handle balls.
“No, it’s just because we have these big forwards sweating making the ball sweaty.”
When pressed by RugbyPass George hit back at Heinz, suggesting that his teammate’s bald head was a much to blame for the slippery balls.
“Can I say it? I’m going to say it.
“Just look how shiny his head gets. He sweats as well. That’s all I’ll say. It’s not just us.”
“We’re very sweaty. We do sweat a lot as well, I do take that on board, but there’s not a lot we can do about that.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 1, 2019
The Saracens hooker suggested the team were getting used to the difficult Japanese conditions: “We haven’t been doing that much different. We trained yesterday and it was pretty hot and it will be warm again today. We’re getting use t it now. The stadium in Kobe was indoors, which almost made it a little more humid because it didn’t seem like the air could get out. I wasn’t playing but the boys said it was tough.
“We’re as adapted to these conditions as we can be. We’re aware that it will be tough but, at the same time, you’ve just got to dig in and get on with it.”
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt announces his squad for Thursday’s Rugby World Cup match against Russia.
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