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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

World Cup Bulletin: Beauty And The ‘Best’ For Leamy

World Cup Bulletin: Beauty And The ‘Best’ For Leamy

…Housekeeping And ‘Roomie’ Issues For Leamy…Paris Gears Up For ‘Le Grand Kick-Off’…McElligott Making Headway…Ireland Unbackable For Bordeaux Opener…Up And Unders…

HOUSEKEEPING AND ‘ROOMIE’ ISSUES FOR LEAMY: Namibia and the start of the World Cup are not the only things on Denis Leamy’s mind at the moment – the Ireland number eight is also fretting about what damage his Munster team-mate Denis Fogarty could do to their house in Cork.

Revealing his concerns in his Irish Independent column, Leamy said: “I own the house but I have another Munster player Denis Fogarty sharing it with me. Denis has the run of the place for the next few weeks and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t apprehensive about the prospect.

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“I’m not saying he’s a bad tenant – he’s good to live with – but he’s a sociable fella and I suspect now that he has a ‘free gaff’ it could become one of Cork’s hottest-spots during the World Cup.”

Having watched a talented Tipperary team win the All-Ireland minor hurling title last Sunday, the Cashel man was seen brushing up on his own hurling skills in Bordeaux this week, but his Xbox battles with Rory Best are over for the time being.

Leamy added: “I had to abandon my Xbox contest with Rory Best over the last week as we were separated and I got Neil ‘no relation’ Best as a replacement. It’s good craic rooming with him and a bit of an eye-opener. Neil is one of the most aggressive and physical forwards in world rugby but, when it comes to his appearance, he’s a bit of a girl.

You wouldn’t believe the bottles of hair and beauty products the guy carries with him. I was looking at them the other day – moisturisers, gels, hair-colouring. I wouldn’t be tempted by any of that stuff myself, although it did make me focus on the fact that my own rug is in need of a bit of attention.

“I’ll chance one of the local French barbers – no dyes or fancy stuff though, just a number one blade for the back and sides and a bit off the top – you’ve got to look mean for the cameras.”

PARIS GEARS UP FOR ‘LE GRAND KICK-OFF’: It’s official – Paris has been taken over by Rugby World Cup fever. The tournament will explode into life in the French capital tonight with the opening ceremony and the Pool D showdown between France and Argentina.

80,000 spectators will cram into the Stade de France for the opening game, with the image of the Eiffel Tower, which has been adorned with a giant rugby ball that lights up at night, in the distance.

The opening ceremony will include 500 dancers and acrobats, 20 of the game’s greatest players being introduced on the pitch and the unveiling of a huge replica of the Webb Ellis Cup.

There are a number of other initiatives going on to help build up the tournament’s presence in Paris with one of the city’s metro stations, Auber, transformed into a rugby venue where commuters can participate in several activities on the inflatable rugby pitch.

A specially constructed cinema will show clips of great moments in French rugby history while former players pose for photographs, and the French postal service La Poste is selling commemorative animated rugby stamps that change, giving the impression of a player converting a penalty, when they are viewed from different angles.

That is not to mention the live sites around the host cities, including Ireland’s base of Bordeaux, which will broadcast the matches on big screens for fans who have not got match tickets.

MCELLIGOTT MAKING HEADWAY: Former Dublin University and Clontarf player Darragh McElligott is a good way into his Rugby Tour de France cycle, having set off from Nantes on September 1.

The determined Dubliner is cycling from Bergerac to Cahors today – a journey which will take seven and a half hours to complete – and thankfully he is taking Sunday and Monday off after reaching Toulouse!

IrishRugby.ie will be talking to Darragh on Monday to get an update on how he is feeling and his experience of watching the Ireland-Namibia match.

The final leg of the cycle will see him ride into Lyon on September 20 after travelling upwards of 1,500 kilometres across France, all in aid of Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Having taken up cycling just last year, Darragh said: “The combination of the two sports has given birth to this cycle which will see me passing through seven French cities that are hosting Rugby World Cup matches.

“The route will bring me south to Bordeaux, and then on to the legendary rugby heartland of Toulouse. I’ll then reach the southern seaside city of Montpellier, and follow the coastline to Marseille, before turning north towards Saint Etienne, and finishing in Lyon on September 20.”

MSF relies almost entirely on private donations from individuals and organisations, so those of you who would like to donate and help Darragh in his inspiring quest, please visit www.RugbyTourDeFrance.com and click on ‘Donations’ for further information.

IRELAND UNBACKABLE FOR BORDEAUX OPENER: Ireland are currently priced at an unbackable 1/900 by Paddy Power to beat Namibia in their World Cup Pool D opener in Bordeaux on Sunday evening.

You may get some joy with the handicap betting with Namibia given a 63-point headstart on Ireland at 10/11, while Paddy Power’s money-back special for the tournament, entitled ‘Unlucky For Scrum’, will see all losing try scorer and winning margin bets on a single match refunded if a number 13 scores the last try.

Given his recent form, Denis Hickie is unsurprisingly rated the 11/2 favourite to score the first try in Sunday’s game, with Andrew Trimble and Brian O’Driscoll (both 6/1) and Gordon D’Arcy (7/1) all close behind.

UP AND UNDERS: …Players daring to wear illegal padding during the World Cup will face the wrath of IRB Referees manager Paddy O’Brien.

Strip searches could be performed before kick-offs as O’Brien seeks to control the amount of body armour worn by some of the world’s top players.

“There are a couple of teams, and I’m not going to name them, who look more like American footballers than rugby players,” the New Zealander said.

“We are talking about arm guards, shoulder padding and sternum pads – all outside the regulations. There will be inspections in the dressing room and again, if necessary, after the anthems.”…

…Ireland back rower Denis Leamy says there could be as many as 32 of his family and friends supporting him in France during his first World Cup.

“The people around Cashel have bought into the Munster thing and having their own representative makes them pretty proud. Whether all 32 get tickets or not I don’t know, but they’re coming!”…

…He did it for them in 1995 and now twelve years later he could be about to do it again – former South Africa President Nelson Mandela had a visit from the Springboks in Paris on Thursday during which he gave an awe-inspiring speech.

‘Boks coach Jake White said: “It is a real omen to see Mr. Mandela. He has been to four Tests and he has never seen us lose.

“Who knows, as the tournament progresses, I’m sure that a nice personal gift from the team would be to fly him back to one of our big games.”

Mandela famously donned a Springboks jersey back in 1995 and his good wishes did the trick as he ended up presenting the Webb Ellis Cup to winning ‘Boks captain Francois Pienaar. He was handed a brand new South Africa shirt yesterday, one of skipper John Smit’s with the number 2 emblazoned on the back of it.

Team manager Zola Yeye said that one of the most amazing aspects of the visit was that Mandela remembered prop Os du Randt, the new Leinster signing, from the 1995 group and greeted him as an old friend, with lightning quick winger Bryan Habana being another player he desperately wanted to meet…