12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS: Friday, March 18-Sunday, March 20 - Hong Kong Stadium, Happy Valley, Hong Kong
Plate quarter-final: Ireland 14 Samoa 19
Two pool wins on Saturday guided Ireland to the second tier Plate competition and a fourth meeting with Samoa since 1993.
The South Sea Islanders - who ran England close in their pool - proved tough opponent but Ireland were still 14-12 up at the break.
A well-taken effort from skipper Ian Humphreys and a first of the tournament for Ballymena's Michael McComish saw them in front, with Elisara also on target for Samoa.
The Irish defence held out for much of the second period but Elisara was on hand - just seconds from the final hooter - to steal the last four berth, and indeed the Plate as they went on to thump Russia 29-7 in the final.
Two wins from six matches - 16 tries scored, 25 against - Andy Maxwell the top try scorer with six - fly-half Humphreys bagging 44 points - all-round, a satisfactory weekend for the Irish but it will play on their minds that their late lapse proved so costly.
Especially having defeated the Russians also in qualifying last summer.
Ireland's two wins matched the record of the 2001 squad - which included Connacht duo Conor McPhillips and Matt Mostyn.
In Sunday's World Cup final, Fiji - inspired by 35-year-old veteran Waisale Serevi - took their second title since the inaugural event in 1993, edging past reigning champions New Zealand 29-19.
Pool A: Ireland 14 Scotland 33
Having conceded a second minute try to Roland Reid, Constable's charges were always up against it in the Happy Valley heat on Friday.
The men in green - who started with new cap Brian Tuohy of Shannon in their line-up - fired back on the restart as skipper Ian Humphreys took a loose ball and ran all of 30 metres to touch down to the right of the posts.
Humphreys converted but a second try for Reid and another from Andrew Turnbull left Ireland 19-7 in arrears at the break.
Scotland substitute Oli Brown's second half sin-binning allowed Leinster wing James Norton the space to skip in for a second Irish try - converted by Humphreys. But a fifth Scottish score for sub Calum MacRae erased that good work in the final minute.
Ireland 5 New Zealand 52
Ireland proved no match for a dominant All-Blacks side - captained by 20-year-old Liam Messam - as the 2001 champions ran in eight tries, adding to their earlier 47-0 pool thrashing of Korea.
Highlanders flanker Josh Blackie - one of two Super 12 players in Gordon Tietjens' NZ squad - crossed for a first-half try hat trick as the gallant Irish trailed 31-0 at the interval.
Ulster winger Andy Maxwell did hit back on the restart, weaving his way through for a well-taken score out wide but that was the highpoint as Blackie, Edwin Cocker and Isaia Toeava touched down to complete the rout.
Ireland 19 USA 31
The Irish ended the opening day winless as they allowed the Americans back into it in the second half.
First-half tries from Maxwell again and Clontarf flyer David Hewitt promised much for the Irish - as did Ian Humphreys' second try of the tournament two minutes into the second half.
That handed Ireland a 19-12 buffer but a late succession of touch downs from Mike Palefau and David Fee - who both scored in the opening seven minutes - and Jason Raven completed a 14-point win for the Eagles.
Ireland 24 Korea 17
Beginning Saturday bottom of Pool A, the Irish set about redeeming themselves and they did so in excellent fashion.
Two tries from Korea's Yong Hwan-Myung were answered back by Maxwell and Clontarf's Dave Hewitt.
Kwak Chul-Woong cancelled out a second Maxwell effort after the restart before Humpheys secured Ireland's first win with a try after the hooter - a real backline gem.
Ireland 24 Tonga 7
Two tries apiece from talismanic duo Maxwell and Humphreys saw Ireland beat Tonga to ensure a spot in the Plate competition.
Tevita Tu'ifua scored the opening try but with the elusive Maxwell and Humphreys - former team mates at Ballymena - on song, the Irish won through.
(1) Mark Bruce (Loughborough University) (2) Kevin Croke (UCD) * (3) David Hewitt (Clontarf) (4) Tomas O'Leary (Dolphin) (5) Ian Humphreys (Belfast Harlequins) (Capt) (6) Andy Maxwell (Ballymena) (7) Michael McComish (Ballymena) (8) Martin McPhail (UL Bohemians) (9) James Norton (UCD) (10) Brendan O'Connor (Cork Constitution) * (11) Niall Ronan (Lansdowne) (12) Brian Tuohy (Shannon) *
Ryan Constable (Coach) George Spotswood (Manager) Ailbe McCormack (Physio)
* denotes new cap