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'Ireland must avoid complacency against Italy'

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

DUBLIN - Ireland's CJ Stander has warned his team mates to guard against complacency in Saturday's Six Nations game at home to Italy after their last-gasp opening win over France at the weekend.

The Irish snatched a 15-13 victory in Paris, while holders England won 46-15 in Rome, which was harsh on Italy who resisted bravely until a flurry of late tries.

"Italy showed what they can do as a team (against England)," said Stander. "We always know you've got to start the game well. If you give them an inch, they're going to make it a tough day.

"They've got experienced players we've all played against and again it's going to be a very physical battle," the loose forward told a news conference on Monday.

Ireland kept pace with England by winning at the Stade de France, going through an extraordinary 41 phases to set up Johnny Sexton for the drop goal that won the game.

"If you slip up once, it's probably the end.

"Paris is a tough place to go. If we can work on and fix what we did prior to the drop goal, we can push on," Stander added.

"After the seventh or eighth phase you just switch off and go into a deep, dark place where all of us have been before in training," said the Ireland number eight.

"So you just keep pushing until something happens. It happened in our favour. As forwards, our perspective is to keep working hard and the backs will do some magic."

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