23 May, 12:21
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
About 100 loyal and dedicated Irish fans, many wearing Irish jerseys and sporting Irish flags, turned up at Sydney at 5am to welcome the squad, along with various other officials. Many got up at 4am to be at the airport in time to welcome the squad.
But despite the early start, the Irish were in boisterous mood and entertained security staff, police, airport workers, and a scrum of awaiting media with renditions of Ireland's Call and The Fields of Athenry.
A group of Wallaby lookalikes - the welcome party for arriving foreign teams - stood bye trying to intimidate the Irish fans, attempting to sing Waltzing Matilda, but they picked the wrong battle, as these fans there ready to answer Ireland's Call.
The fans entertained onlookers with their antics and singing, but the real cheer was kept for the arrival of the Irish side, and a special "banner roar" went up for Keith Wood, flanked by Eddie O'Sullvian, when he led the squad through.
The atmosphere was fairly jovial, despite tight security, and fans got a chance to have a quick chat with players and collect autographs before the team headed to the bus for the hour-and-a-half trip to Terrigal, the Irish squad's base for the first half of the world cup.
The Australian media interest in the arrival of the Irish was huge. Despite the fact that many pundits are saying England and New Zealand will be likely final contenders, as one Aussie reporter put it, "the Irish are the most talked about team of the tournament".
Captain Keith Wood said the whole squad was delighted with the support from the fans. "We could hear the Fields of Athenry getting off the plane. I think it's amazing to see so many people at the airport at this time of the morning. We expected some press but not even to this level, we certainly didn't expect such a crowd of Irish supporters to be here. To see a whole group of people in Irish jerseys, well it's cool, very cool actually, very nice," he said.
Coach Eddie O'Sullivan said the squad was delighted to have arrived after their 26-hour journey. "We're so happy to be here, it's been a long time coming and now that we're here we're looking forward to every minute of it," he said.
Commenting on the tournament, he said: "It's the group of death really there's no doubt about that. There's no doubt it's the toughest group of the tournament, they key is to get out of that group if you want to do anything. That's where our focus lies at the moment.
"I think Australia are a dangerous team to play at the moment, they had a summer that was probably the low point for themselves, they were a bit disappointed. But I think Australia are like a wounded animal at the moment they've got something to prove and that makes them a dangerous team id rather play them when they're in better form than that."