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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Test Match Countdown: Two Days To Go

Test Match Countdown: Two Days To Go

…O’Driscoll Wants Patience From Team…Hickie: No Need To Panic…Belfast Clubs Have That World Cup Feeling…Say What?…Numbers Game…

O’DRISCOLL WANTS PATIENCE FROM TEAM: Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll has demanded his team adopt a patient outlook to Saturday’s must-win Pool D tie with Georgia in Bordeaux.

Like Ireland last weekend against Namibia, the 28-year-old centre has seen how other top-ranked teams have struggled to put the so called ‘minnows’ of the World Cup away over the first 40 or 60 minutes of matches.


Georgia are a tough, physical side and will have a fresh line-up, given their coach’s decision to make eleven personnel changes for Saturday’s game, and O’Driscoll knows they will take a lot of wearing down.


“We thought that the group might have come a bit easier than it did. But we’ve seen throughout the whole of this World Cup that everyone has found it difficult in the first 40 or 60 minutes against the perceived minnows.


“England struggled against the USA and even Australia found it tough against Japan in the first half hour. Some of the smaller sides have been impressive,” admitted the Irish skipper.


“You just have to hold your patience and try to wear teams down and, in the last 20 minutes, take your opportunities when teams open up a bit more.


“You don’t win Test matches in 20 minutes no matter who you’re playing against – unless you’re the All Blacks maybe!”


HICKIE: NO NEED TO PANIC: Ireland winger Denis Hickie says the poor performance against Namibia last weekend has not dented morale or confidence in the Irish World Cup camp.


Speaking on TV3’s ‘Rugby World Cup Weekly’, the Leinster wide man said: “No, our confidence hasn’t been knocked. By the sounds of things, everyone else’s confidence seems to be a bit shaky.


“We’ve to look at these things in a different sort of light, we look at it in terms of performance and technical issues and there were a lot of technical problems in that performance (against Namibia.


“They’re not things that can’t be ironed out. We know we can sort the issues out – it’s well within our capabilities to do that, we’ve done it before and we’ve played a lot better than that for most of the last three or four years.


“If we can do that, there’s no reason why we can’t achieve our objectives. Having said that, we’re not being complacent or arrogant about it. If we don’t perform or don’t correct these things then we can’t expect to get out of the group,” he added.


“No one’s analysing it as hard as we are or more realistic than we are about our objectives and what we need to achieve them.”


BELFAST CLUBS HAVE THAT WORLD CUP FEELING: Belfast Harlequins RFC are inviting fans to come to their Deramore Park base watch Ireland’s remaining Pool D matches against Georgia, France and Argentina.


Former international Gordon Hamilton, whose famous 1991 try against Australia has been replayed countless times over the past few weeks, will be at the club on Saturday to give his analysis of Ireland-Georgia game at half-time and after the final whistle.


Meanwhile, Malone RFC have organised a special promotions night at their home ground of Gibson Park for Ireland’s meeting with France on Friday, September 21.


For the cost of ¬£10, those attending can enjoy a pre-match dinner and post-match entertainment and also enjoy the game on the club’s new big screen. For further information, please telephone Colin Wilkinson on 0044 (0) 7855327108 before next Wednesday.


SAY WHAT?:


“Within Irish rugby we are very lucky to have a phenomenal level of medical supervision. I was able to see a radiologist Steve Eustace and a consultant knee surgeon Ray Moran straight away, the top men in their field.


“Then I dealt with the medical staff here – Brian Green, Cameron Steele and Gary O’Driscoll – and then we’ve got Mike McGurn, the fitness coach, as well.


“All of those people, who have come in with the increased level of professionalism, have really benefited me to recover from this injury and the one prior to it.”


– Ireland winger Shane Horgan on the level of medical and fitness assistance he received to get him back in the team for Saturday’s game against Georgia


“We have a lot of young players in the team who learned a lot in this game and will improve a lot for the next match. The team also needed to learn to cope with the mental pressure of World Cup rugby and to think on their feet.


“We need to play with more liberty. We need to give ourselves a chance to score and not just kick the ball.”


– Georgian captain Ilia Zedginidze on the lessons his side will take from their 33-3 defeat to Argentina


“Talking to some of the older lads like John Hayes and Denis Hickie has put it in perspective – they know they won’t be around in New Zealand in four years’ time and this is their, and this team’s, last chance.


“Denis has been around for 10 years and has been through the dark days, when things were still a bit chaotic in the Irish set-up, and when he talks, you listen.


“There’s no panic yet, we know we’re better than we’ve been playing, but it’s time to stop saying it and start proving it. We owe it to Eddie (O’Sullivan) and the backroom guys, we owe it to ourselves and our supporters.”


– Ireland number eight Denis Leamy on the desire to put in a big performance against Georgia this weekend and right the wrongs of the game against Namibia


NUMBERS GAME:


337 – The number of caps boasted by the Georgian starting fifteen for Saturday’s game against Ireland. Their most-capped player is lock and captain Ilia Zedginidze who has played 47 times for his country


8 – The number of tries Ireland scored when they beat Georgia 63-14 in a World Cup qualifier in Dublin in 2002. Brian O’Driscoll (2), Denis Hickie, Kevin Maggs, Girvan Dempsey, Simon Easterby, Alan Quinlan and Guy Easterby all touched down that day, with O’Driscoll’s brace moving him to within one try of Brendan Mullin’s then Irish try-scoring record (17)


590 – The distance, in kilometres, between Bordeaux’s Stade Chaban Delmas, the venue for Ireland’s second match of the World Cup, and the Stade de France in Saint Denis, which will host Ireland’s mouth-watering Pool D clash with France on September 21