Eager-to-get-going Trimble laughs off Pietersen gaffe
To be mistaken for a goalkicking French outhalf whose national team have long since discarded him and who is notionally second choice for his club side might be deemed offensive to an Irish winger who doesn’t even share the same Christian name. But on foot of JP Pietersen having apparently confused him with David Skrela, as one wag in the press corps sought to console Andrew Trimble, this was at least a variation on being called David Trimble.
The Ulster and Irish winger was also inclined to laugh off the perceived slur. “Is that what he said?” laughed Trimble. “It’s always the way; you want to get as much respect out of these teams as possible and I think the only way you get that respect you feel you deserve is if you beat them. It could have just been a mistake.
“We’d probably watch a lot more Rugby Championship than they would watch Six Nations, I don’t know. I’m guessing. I don’t want to say ‘They have no respect for us, they don’t even know my name’; that’s just not something I’m going to do in the team talks, I’m not going to be talking them up like that. What do you do? You just go out there and perform as well as you can and hope they remember your name.”
Trimble also laughed off the notion he might be inclined to use this as motivation. “No, no. I do a lot of press conferences and you get names wrong and you make mistakes. You’re nervous; there are people staring at you and you don’t know what to say half the time,” he smiled, looking around a circle of inquisitors. “It’s one of those things, you get on with it. I don’t think we’ll be looking at that saying, ‘JP Pietersen thinks I’m David Skrela, let’s get him!’”
As ever, he’s itching to play and, a little oddly, finds himself as one of the more established backs in training in the absence of Brian O’Driscoll and Rob Kearney. “It’s strange to train all last week and this week without Brian and Rob. When they’re fit, they’re picked. But you got to look at the positives. With those two guys out for example, it might give us the opportunity to try something different, it may give us the chance to experiment. You’re asking the wrong questions. I’m not worried about experimentation. I want to play.”
Trimble has only played once against the Springboks, when scoring one of Ireland’s three tries in the 32-15 win six Novembers ago. “That day was one of the first caps I got, it was my second season. It felt like I was starting to impose myself and it was a performance that made me feel as if I deserved to be there. It gave me a lot of confidence. Chatting to Ruan Pienaar this week I told him I found a picture of me handing him off in the face. He didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.”
Mention of his Ulster team-mate and likely opponent on Saturday prompted Trimble to confirm the impression of Pienaar as more chilled than a bloke called Bond ordering one of his trademark martinis. “He’s just chilled out, the most relaxed man I’ve ever met, he does the right thing 99 per cent of the time. He’s very composed. You don’t often get the same panicking or giving out to boys, that’s what you want from your scrumhalf and that’s what he does, he performs very well under pressure and does the right thing more often than not.”
If Ireland could ruffle the uber cool Pienaar, that would be some achievement.