Eddie O'Sullivan, the former Ireland coach, will fact off against his current rival Declan Kidney in Dublin on Sunday, and you can be sure that the sharpness of public criticism will still be foremost in their minds.

'I had six and a half years at the helm and most of it was enjoyable but it's like most coaching jobs – the end of it can get pretty ugly, starting for me with the World Cup and then the Six Nations that came after it," O'Sullivan told The Guardian this week.

'It was a pretty tough place to be at the end so there's a sense of relief at not being there and not in the grinder any more. I'm in a place now where there are different optics on the whole thing.'

The new place is with the US Eagles. It took quite a while for O'Sullivan to find the team. And the difference between them can't be understated.

The Eagles train on a shoestring whilst the Ireland team trained in their country club hotel in County Kildare, with everything laid on.

'People don't realize the sacrifices these players make to play for the Eagles and that's part of the attraction, because you're dealing with guys who are so committed to the cause,' O'Sullivan added.

Meanwhile the headlines written about Kidney are more than a bit familiar to O'Sullivan. He remembers and is thankful to be out of all the scrutiny.

'There's been a lot written about myself and Declan and it's been a bit tedious, to be honest. I wonder what purpose it's serving for anybody. Declan doesn't need to prove anything at this stage as a coach and I'd like to feel that the same would apply to me, even if it's to a lesser degree than Declan.

'I've seen the reaction to this year's warm-up games for Ireland and it's exactly like it was in 2007. It heaps extra pressure on the team before there is a ball kicked in anger. Warm-up games are treated like Six Nations games by the media when they are nothing like Six Nations games and serve a completely different purpose.'


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