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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

O’Driscoll: We’re Not Worried About Cup Opponents

O’Driscoll: We’re Not Worried About Cup Opponents

Despite dubbing pre-season training as “torture”, Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll is relishing the run-in to the 2007 Rugby World Cup which is now only 81 days away.

O’Driscoll is confident Ireland can make their mark at the forthcoming tournament in France, which begins for Eddie O’Sullivan’s men with a September 9 clash with Namibia in Bordeaux.

Drawn in Pool D alongside hosts France and perennial opponents Argentina, Ireland have some crunch ties to consider before the knock-out stages come into view, but O’Driscoll is not losing any sleep over those match-ups.

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“Why should we worry about who we will play in the tournament? I think we will be giving plenty of the top sides sleepless nights hoping they will avoid us,” he told the Sunday Mirror.

“Winning the World Cup is every player’s ultimate goal. I’d simply love to be in that position – to do what Martin Johnson did (four years ago) and lift the cup. But there is a long, long road ahead of this Ireland team before we could get that chance.”

The Leinster centre, who was voted RBS Six Nations Player of the Year for the second straight season in April, is eagerly anticipating his third appearance at a Rugby World Cup tournament.

“I’m certainly looking forward to this World Cup. I’m contracted to play up to the 2011 tournament, but this one promises to be a very exciting one for myself and Ireland.

“I’m also back in pre-season training – so I’ll probably be sick of rugby in a few days’ time! It doesn’t get any easier. In fact, it’s just like torture every year,” he admitted.

“But it’s part of a professional player’s life – you just have to get on and do it. The World Cup is the light at the end of the tunnel of all the blood, sweat and tears you put in.”

Asked who he thinks will lift the Webb Ellis trophy in the autumn, the 28-year-old added: “Another northern hemisphere side will hopefully win it again – I’d love it to be Ireland.

“New Zealand are hot favourites again and I’ve got to admit they are looking awesome now. But I always believe any team is beatable.”