18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
And Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan has forewarned that it will not be a case of just turning up when Ireland open their World Cup 2003 challenge against Romania in Gosford tomorrow.
The Irish coach believes that the underdogs will throw the kitchen sink at Ireland in front of a sell-out audience of 20,000 spectators - most of whom will be Irish!
Having successfully run his team through a light final training run in a beautifully prepared stadium and reported no injury doubts, O'Sullivan said that he wanted a winning performance because you want to start your Pool matches well.
Come Hell or high water O'Sullivan said you must come out of the Pool and into the qualifying stages. That is why I am not putting pressure on the players to win the Pool, just to get out of it. We have got a good draw in the circumstances by avoiding the heavy hitters early on.
The affable Irish coach, who is proving such a popular figure with the world's media because of his facility to provide such literate quotable opinions, says that Ireland are already under pressure to prove themselves in the Southern Hemisphere.
In this part of the world we have not got any credit for what we have achieved in the past year (15 victories from 17 matches) so if we are to get respect we are going to have to have a good World Cup. There is an expectancy about. That brings pressure but it is a pressure you want.
Girvan Dempsey (Leinster-Terenure College); Shane Horgan (Leinster-Lansdowne), Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster-Blackrock College), Kevin Maggs (Bath), Denis Hickie (Leinster-St. Mary's College); David Humphreys (Ulster-Dungannon), Peter Stringer (Munster-Shannon); Marcus Horan (Munster-Shannon),Keith Wood (Munster-Garryowen) capt, Reggie Corrigan (Leinster-Greystones); Malcom O'Kelly (Leinster-St. Mary's College), Paul O'Connell (Munster - Young Munster); Victor Costello (Leinster-St. Mary's College), Keith Gleeson (Leinster-St. Mary's College), Anthony Foley (Munster-Shannon)
Replacements 16-Shane Byrne (Leinster-Blackrock College), 17-John Hayes (Munster- Shannon), 18-Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster-Cork Constitution), 19-Alan Quinlan (Munster-Shannon), 20-Guy Easterby (Rotherham), 21-Ronan O'Gara (Munster-Cork Constitution), 22-John Kelly (Munster- Cork Constitution)
Ireland v Romania.
07 Sep 2002: Ireland 39-8 Romania. Thomond Park. 02 Jun 2001: Ireland 37-3 Romania, Bucharest. 15 Oct 1999: Ireland 44-14 Romania. Lansdowne Rd. 21 Nov 1998: Ireland 53-35 Romania. Lansdowne Rd. 13 Nov 1993: Ireland 25-3 Romania. Lansdowne Rd. 01 Nov 1986: Ireland 60-0 Romania. Lansdowne Rd.