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Leamy: We’ll Be Ready To Peak In France

Leamy: We’ll Be Ready To Peak In France

Number eight Denis Leamy feels there is no need for Ireland supporters to panic about their team’s World Cup hopes, despite last week’s less than impressive defeat of Italy.

Ireland admittedly struggled against the Italians, requiring a last-gasp try from Ronan O’Gara to net them to a 23-20 win at Ravenhill. The game marked Leamy’s first Test match since March and was an important outing for the Munster player after he injured his shoulder against Bayonne the previous week.

“The shoulder’s fine now. It’s a little bit sore after the other night (against Italy) but I got treatment on it yesterday and it has settled down very well,” admitted Leamy at the team hotel this morning.

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“It didn’t affect me in the Italian game. I wouldn’t make that excuse. It was a little bit sore, but it was always going to be like that.”

While analysis of the clash with the Azzurri would suggest that Ireland are currently a good way off their Six Nations form, Leamy feels he and his team-mates are more than capable of reaching their peak over the coming weeks in France.

“It is going to take a couple of games, individually and collectively, to get things together. The more time we spend on the pitch together the better. You can’t really get as much out of training as you would like – game-time is what really brings you on.

“We will be a lot better for having played that game against Italy. Personally, it was important to get a game under my belt going into the World Cup,” he added.

“I had only played 30 minutes against Bayonne so it was very important to get that game under my belt. It probably wasn’t one of my better performances but I wouldn’t panic yet.”

When word spread that Leamy had damaged his shoulder in the victory over Bayonne, there were initial fears about his World Cup participation, but was the Tipperary man concerned himself?

“I wasn’t really concerned. I’ve had the injury about four or five times now over the past couple of years. We know pretty well how to treat it now, to get it right quick.

“When it happened I knew straight away what was wrong. I alerted the physios and doctors to it. I cam off early because there was no point in staying on with it,” he explained.

“They did a good job to get me back on the pitch last week and I’m sure that come the World Cup, I’ll be ready to go.

“You’d probably have to ask the physios what the problem with my shoulder is exactly, but as far as I’m aware it’s a bit of a bruised nerve. It gets upset with a big impact on it and that happens a little bit. But we know the injury now and it settles down very fast.”

The World Cup fixture planning has certainly worked in Ireland’s favour with their opening two Pool D encounters against Namibia, who are ranked 24th in the world, and the 18th-ranked Georgians, affording Eddie O’Sullivan’s men the chance to build up some momentum before their all-important battles with hosts France and Argentina.

“The fixture list has worked out for us. I think the way everything was organised means it was probably in the coach’s mind. No disrespect to either Namibia or Georgia, but we would be expected to beat them both and we’ll use those game to sharpen the knife for the big two,” added the 25-year-old.

“It wasn’t one of our better performances on Friday but you have to be realistic. For a lot of us it was our first game of the season, for others it was their second.

“You can’t just flick on a switch. It’s going to take time together and the Italian game will have brought us on an awful lot. Hopefully we’ll be ready for the big games at the World Cup.”