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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Stringer Sees Namibia Game As “A Stepping Stone”

Stringer Sees Namibia Game As “A Stepping Stone”

Scrum half Peter Stringer is confident Ireland can use their opening World Cup match against Namibia as a springboard for success in the tournament, adding that the squad’s professional attitude will prevent them from slipping up against the Africans on Sunday.

Stringer started the 2003 World Cup game between the sides – a ten-try 64-7 victory for Ireland in the Sydney rain – and the Corkman is itching to kickstart Ireland’s 2007 campaign with another big win next weekend.

“It’s about getting over to France and hitting the ground running,” he said from the team hotel in Dublin.

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“Everyone’s been talking about the World Cup for a good while – it’s been built up since the Six Nations. Now it’s about getting on with the job and backing up what we’ve produced in the Six Nations.”

While most observers are predicting an easy victory for the Irish in their Bordeaux opener, the 77-times capped Stringer knows he and his team-mates cannot afford to be ill-prepared for the clash with the Welwitschias.

“We’ve been in the game long enough, we’re a professional team and guys are fully aware that if you go into a game not prepared then you’re going to come out second best.

“From a personal point of view, as a professional player, you’ve set yourself standards over the years and I think you go through the same preparation no matter what game you’re playing.

“We’re looking at the bigger picture. Looking at it as a stepping stone, and we have to improve on the previous game and we want to go into the Namibia game and put in a good performance. It helps confidence knowing that you can do that, heading into the latter stages of the group.”

It is hard to argue with the 29-year-old whose supreme fitness and match preparation has helped him go on an incredible run in the Irish side – he has won his 77 caps in Ireland’s last 86 Test matches.

The Munster number 9 was rested for the games against the USA (2000), Fiji (2002), Tonga, Samoa and Italy (all in 2003) and Argentina (2) and Scotland (all 2007). The only match he has missed due to injury was the Six Nations clash with France earlier this year.

Giving a flavour of the mood in the Irish camp, Stringer added: “It’s a Test week, it’s the World Cup and guys are really buzzing. Training is going well, guys are getting stuck into each other as though it were the French game.

“Certainly every one of us doesn’t want to slip up at this stage, we’ve worked too hard for it, put in a great pre-season and had the couple of warm-up games that didn’t go as well as we had hoped.

“Now it’s about setting our standards and improving on performances and the Namibia game will hopefully see us do just that.”