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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

We Can Draw On Past Experiences Says Wallace

We Can Draw On Past Experiences Says Wallace

Flanker David Wallace believes he and his team-mates can use their past experiences of having to either chase a game or score a bonus point win to their advantage when they take on Argentina on Sunday.

Wallace’s province of Munster were involved in two memorable Heineken Cup pool matches in 2003 against Gloucester and in 2006 against Sale when they required bonus point wins to qualify for the competition’s knock-out stages.

The required results were duly garnered by Munster as in what has been termed ‘the miracle match’, Gloucester slumped to a 33-6 beating at Thomond Park and the same venue played host to an equally celebrated 31-9 victory over Sale in January of last year.

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Wallace, who scored a crucial injury-time try in the Sale game, said: “As then, that match against Gloucester was touted that it was mission impossible so I suppose we can take some hope from that – that nothing is impossible.

“It’s very much a mind-set that you have to have, that it’s do or die. We will use that to go out, first of all, to win the game against Argentina and then build from there.

“What those Munster games taught me is the first thing is not to panic because a lot of those tries came very late on. It’s something which we have seen, maybe in the Argentina-Georgia match as well where they also scored very late on to get their bonus point.

“Basically, you have got to go toe-to-toe for the whole game and wear a team down before you get the tries. That’s something we have got to work on and bring in to the game on Sunday.”

Wallace admitted that Ireland will also draw inspiration from the way they came back against France in the 2006 Six Nations, scoring 28 points (four converted tries) without reply after they were 43-3 down.

“There is inspiration there. That is what our attitude has to be. The way we played in that second half is to an extent the way we have got to play in this game but maybe not until later on. That was halfway through the game or further on when we started playing like that.

“If we play like that from the very start we’re going to come asunder. We have got to put in the hard graft and make the hard yards before the game opens up,” added the openside.

Wallace came into the tournament, his first World Cup, with an ankle problem disrupting his preparation but insists that it has not hindered his play so far in France.

“I don’t think the ankle has been an issue but maybe the lack of match practice and training in the run-up would hinder you slightly. But I suppose I worked hard mentally and on analysis to be fully right, or as much as I could be, even though I wasn’t out on the rugby pitch,” he said.

“The ankle itself hasn’t hindered me. I think the ankle itself is pretty much where I want it to be. That’s three games under my belt now and I’m hoping that whatever pre-season cobwebs were there are gone. I’m not even worrying about it because you have got to be so single-minded in your attitude going into this. All I’m thinking about is doing everything right in the game and I don’t think I’d be worrying about my ankle.”

Having watched Argentina in action in recent weeks, Wallace has been “very impressed” with the way their back row has functioned. “Obviously they are very physical and great on the ground, they disrupt a lot of ball so it’s going to be a tough day certainly.”

But far more concerned about his own play and that of the team’s, the powerfully-built Limerick man was frank when reflecting on Ireland’s campaign so far.

“I think for the first couple of games, even in the games leading up to the World Cup, we were just making far too many fundamental errors, knock-ons and loose ball at ruck time, just being careless with the ball really. That maybe knocked a bit of wind out of our sails.

“In the Georgia game we improved and in the France game we improved again. We maybe got it out of our system but, unfortunately, the last day we gave away far too many penalties and gave them a huge cushion points-wise to sit on.

“Against a French team with the players they have, you can’t afford to do that especially at a World Cup. They were ale to sit back and relax and play some rugby after that. That’s where we didn’t want to be.”

Yet Wallace is hopeful that Ireland are on the verge of rediscovering the form they showed in this year’s Six Nations and last autumn, adding: “I think if we can get our defence right and go out with the right attitude in attack and also cut out the silly mistakes and discipline errors, we are certainly on the right road.”