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.
The 12 times capped loose head prop had sat out Wednesday's training session because of a slight leg muscle injury but impressively erased any superstitions about winning his 13th cap by satisfying coach Eddie O'Sullivan of his availability to play.
"Marcus trained flat out and is fine said O'Sullivan, who also revealed that Gary Longwell, who is not in the 22 against Romania, had to miss training because of a calf injury.
Longwell sat out the 90 minutes session under a canopy, protected from a 20 minutes period of atrociously wet weather, which Eddie O'Sullivan aptly described as like being back in Ireland on a cold, winters day.
The Irish coach stated that he did not want that type of going for the game. If we get conditions like we got today, it will turn the match into a lottery, just a slugging match. It would not suit us to go into that environment. he said.
O'Sullivan said that the Irish team is ready for the action and that everybody wants to get out of the blocks well. There is a bit of tension there but nothing more than you would expect.
Referees, says the Irish coach, will play a big part in the World Cup tournament - and hopefully for the right reasons! He added
"It's a hugely pressurised position being a referee. Nobody wants a game in the World Cup to be decided by a referee's call that went wrong. They are all in a terribly difficult position. In fairness they are trying to be homogenous in their approach to the tackle, scrum and ruck. But it is a difficult thing for them.
On the question as to whether Ireland had any tendency to transgress in specific areas, Ireland assistant coach Declan Kidney felt that we are fairly clean across the board - you can nit pick but we have no particular fault.
O'Sullivan concluded by saying it was a bad mind-set to go into a game with the view that the bonus point is what you are after.
You have to go after your win and the bonus point is a bonus if you get it. If you go in with the idea that you have to score four tries straight away, it puts you in a bad place. The most important thing is to win the game, get a win under your belt and then in the last quarter of the game if you are on top, push your advantage and try for the bonus point. It would not be a focal point of the team going into the game. It's the icing on the cake if you get it. Hopefully we will, but I'm not talking up the bonus point. A good performance and a win is the key.