10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
We thought that given the proximity to Australia their supporters would make up about half the crowd at the game but there was an incredible Irish presence.
It means so much, particularly in key moments or when you're blowing hard - that kind of support lifts you. We had a look at the long range weather forecast, knew that there would be rain on the night and planned to play a direct game.
We probably would have anyway but it was tailor-made for the conditions that prevailed. We'd gone well in training all week, had targeted parts of the Australians' patterns and the coaches came up with a great game plan, which we executed well.
On Sunday we moved to Lake Taupo and during the week had a nice balance between training and down days. On one of the latter 12 of us went to play golf, three four-man teams in a scramble format.
I was pretty pleased with my team-mates because Eoin Reddan and Andrew Trimble are bandits and Denis Leamy can hit a good ball.
We were five under after 11 holes and reckoned we'd need a couple more birdies down the stretch to take the money. Instead we threw in three bogeys.
We hung around the 18th to try and put off our main rivals, a team comprising of Paul McNaughton, Ronan O'Gara, Stephen Ferris and Sean Cronin.
It worked up to a point because they had to hole a six foot putt for par and an outright win. The first three missed but unfortunately Cronin kept his nerve and we missed out on the honour and glory.
Related Links -
Jonathan's blogs are on www.O2.ie/rugby.
Follow the Ireland team in New Zealand on www.twitter.com/irfurugby.
|RWC 2011 Pool C|