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Players must prove themselves - O'Sullivan
16 January 2008 10:22am
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan has urged his players to rebuild their reputations during the 6 Nations.
O'Sullivan believes the 6 Nations offers a chance of redemption after unveiling his 33-man squad for the tournament on Tuesday.
"The 6 Nations represents a great opportunity for us to get back to the standards we have achieved in the past," he said.
O'Sullivan also has a point to prove with another dismal showing from Ireland almost certainly likely to spell the end of his seven-year reign as head coach.
The squad named yesterday included a injection of youth with uncapped Leinster duo Cian Healy and Jonathan Sexton appearing alongside rookies Jamie Heaslip, Luke Fitzgerald and Tommy Bowe.
Yet with only the injured Paul O'Connell and retired Denis Hickie unavailable, O'Sullivan could revert en masse to his first choice World Cup 22 when he names the team to face Italy on February 2.
O'Sullivan agrees the title is up for grabs, although away Tests against France and England mean it would be a major achievement for Ireland.
"It is the tournament that we always want to do well in and this year's championship is really open with no clear favourites," he said.
"So it really is a case of only looking forward to your next game, which starts with an Italy side who always begin the tournament well."
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