…Horan Eager For Scrum Showdown…Best’s Barca Have ‘X’ Appeal…Management ‘Soc’ It To Them…Say What?…Numbers Game…
HORAN EAGER FOR SCRUM SHOWDOWN: Ireland prop Marcus Horan is relishing the chance to test how good the Irish scrum is against the might of Georgia on Saturday night.
For long periods of their opening game against Argentina, the Georgian tight five looked a match for any side in the World Cup and Horan knows they will definitely try to put pressure on Ireland at set piece time.
“We’ll get nothing easy against Georgia. They are a step up again on Namibia, especially in the front row. We’ve seen the tapes of their previous games along with the Argentina game from Tuesday. They’re huge men and pride themselves in their scrummaging and we’ve just got to relish that prospect,” said the Munster front rower.
“It’s the kind of group we’re in and you’re going to expect that for the next few weeks. It should be the ideal stepping stone for what comes afterwards.”
Horan is looking for the Irish pack to press home any advantage they can eek out against the Georgians, particularly in the scrum.
“The penalty try that we won off a scrum against Namibia did give the forwards a lift but we didn’t move on from there and turn the screw and that’s very disappointing. We’ll be punished by other teams if we do that again, so against Georgia we’ll have to make it count.”
BEST’S BARCA HAVE ‘X’ APPEAL: As room-mates go, Rory Best and Denis Leamy are admittedly pretty easy going fellas but when it comes to their Pro Evolution Soccer clashes on the Xbox, their friendship goes out the window.
In a recent column for the Irish Independent, Munster man Leamy insisted that, when the pair challenge each other on the Xbox at the team hotel, “no matter who he plays with I’ve taught him some harsh lessons.”
But now it appears that the Tipperary native may be stretching the truth a little. Penning his first World Cup diary entry for the Belfast Telegraph, Ulster hooker Best said of his ‘roomie’: “Myself and Denis are both very similar and on days off we tend to lie in. If it says breakfast from 8 to 11.30, we will get up at 11.20.
“The only time we disagree is when we play Pro Evolution Soccer on the Xbox. I would tend to hold the edge there. He would only beat me once every nine times, so he tends to fall out with me quite a lot,” he admitted.
“I am always Barcelona and he used to always pick Manchester United, but he has changed now to AC Milan because I have been putting five or six goals past him. He is trying to shore up his defence but it hasn’t worked so far.
“I like Barcelona because they have a few players like Ronaldinho who can dribble the ball around him and torture him.
“We also had a boxing game as well but that was a waste of time. We didn’t see the end of the first round because of his glass jaw. He kept hitting the deck!” Looks like a KO win for the Poyntzpass powerhouse in both games!
MANAGEMENT ‘SOC’ IT TO THEM: Continuing the soccer theme, the Ireland management team got a ‘one-up’ on the best round ball talents the Irish media have to offer as they secured a 4-2 victory over the media side in Wednesday’s ‘friendly’ match.
The match, which took place near the team hotel in Bordeaux, was played in very warm conditions and the result hung in the balance until a certain Eddie O’Sullivan popped up to net the clinching goal for the management from close range. The goal poacher supreme had played on despite a niggling hamstring injury.
“In England’s win four years ago they had six or seven World XV players and the load was shared. In Ireland’s case presently, we may have a couple, and we are reliant on all our players playing at the peak of their ability. That is a huge ask but it is what we demand nonetheless.
“Against Namibia we didn’t approach that standard and deserve to be roasted for it. If the lesson is learnt, Ireland can go very far, if not we are heading for an ignominious exit.”
– Former Ireland hooker and captain Keith Wood tells it like it is in an article in the Daily Telegraph
“For 80 minutes you need to know how to spend your strength. If you don’t know, you can lose it in 15 minutes. That knowledge is the most important thing for us to work on.”
– Georgia flanker Grigol Labadze discusses how his side’s lack of experience and top level match fitness saw them succumb to a 33-3 defeat to Argentina on Tuesday
“After the Namibia game there were was no sense that the tactics had gone wrong or the preparation had gone wrong. That was all very good. Instead, as individuals we were very poor – we produced 39 turnovers which is more than double in any other international.
“The coach can only tell you so much about what to do – if you can’t hold onto the ball and start making bad decisions, there is nothing the management can do about it.
“We played like a team that is inexperienced rather than one that has been together a long time. We’re very annoyed with ourselves. We are no under illusions – if you don’t play well then you have to take what is coming to you. It’s fantastic that Eddie (O’Sullivan) has given us another chance.”
– Ireland winger Denis Hickie and his team-mates will be aiming to repay their coach’s faith in them when they take on Georgia on Saturday
12 – The number of carries made by centre Gordon D’Arcy during Ireland’s opening World Cup victory over Namibia. D’Arcy, one of Ireland’s top runners in the game, carried for 44 metres throughout the 80 minutes, beating five defenders in the process
1200 – The milestone mark of Rugby World Cup tries that has just been passed this week. Argentina lock Patricio Albacete had the honour of scoring the 1200th try in World Cup history Tuesday’s 33-3 win over Georgia in Lyon
195 – The height, in centimetres, of giant Georgian winger Besiki Khamashuridze. As well as being 6ft 5in in stature, the Cannes clubman weighs in at 15 stone and won his 50th cap against Argentina on Tuesday