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'I Just Thought, What An Absolute Twat!' - Stephen Ferris On Facing England In 2012

'I Just Thought, What An Absolute Twat!' - Stephen Ferris On Facing England In 2012
By Conor Neville
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The golden generation enjoyed some of their greatest days in Twickers. Girvan Dempsey sliding in to topple the World Champs in 2004, Shane Horgan finishing a breakaway move to win the Triple Crown in 2006, Tommy Bowe grabbing two tries to end England's absurd Grand Slam ambitions in 2010.

Listen to the full Stephen Ferris interview on our daily sports podcast The Racket:

In recent times, the power has shifted back to the home side. The most recent Six Nations loss was a respectable one, a narrow loss to a confident England team. But 2012 was one of the blackest defeats of the lot. A weakened Irish scrum was ground into the dirt by the English juggernaut. George Hook queried afterwards whether the Irish team doctor might have given one of the props a flick of the blade to deliver uncontested scrums.

The hosts were loving it.

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Stephen Ferris spoke to us on The Racket about the upcoming game against England but also about what it's like to play at Twickenham when the crowd start blasting out their favourite African-American spiritual.

When he thinks of the 2012 game, it's the puffed up snarling of exultant prop Alex Corbisiero that comes to mind.

I remember I was lying at the bottom of a ruck. And Alex Corbisiero was standing over the top of me and he said 'welcome to the House of Pain!'

And I was lying on the ground and I said, 'what an absolute twat this fella is like!'

And I remember just sitting there, thinking, 'please, let us come back and win this game.' And we didn't win the game. And it was a house of pain at the end.

That kind of comment. It made me laugh. You know, 'welcome to the house of pain'. What's that about, like? He's not a WWE wrestler, you know what I mean. Even though he probably thinks he is.

He's off now taking his break from rugby but hopefully he comes back. He's an unbelievable player and a great asset to English rugby. He's had his injury woes as well but, yeah, those stupid comments, you just kinda brush them off and have to get on with it. It makes you feel inside like, 'I really want to beat those guys', just so you as afterwards you can shake his hands and say, 'the house of pain was great, we'll see you next year!'

Corbisiero was the man of the moment, lionised in the English press after overwhelming opposite number Tom Court. On a miserably wet St. Patrick's Day, Ireland were massacred 30-9. After seven wins in eight years, it heralded the end of a period of dominance. Court became a whipping boy in the press.

Mike Ross went off early. Tom Court came on. Got absolutely slaughtered by the press post-game. As a pack, we take responsibility as a unit. He was playing tight head. He's played very few games at tight head. And that's the way it went. And once our scrum was retreating, it was a long day at the office. I remmeber they kept going for scrum after scrum after scrum on our line. I was packing down behind Cian Healy. We were just hitting and then holding and then BANG! We were getting driven back. It was a tough day. I think our scrum has improved. It's going better over the course of the tournament. Mike Ross is back in this weekend. Hopefully, we can get parity there because England do have a very strong scrum and set-piece.

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Read more: 'He's Not The Blonde Athlete We Once Knew' - Mick Galwey On Simon Geoghegan And Twickenham '94

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