Ireland ‘A’ captain Bob Casey is confident that his side can make their mark on the 2008 Barclays Churchill Cup tournament, with the London Irish lock targeting a place in the cup final.
Trying to better last year’s third place finish will not be easy for the Ireland ‘A’ squad. They kick-off their Churchill Cup run with a game against the USA in Kingston on Wednesday night but Allen Clarke’s charges will have only two days to recover before going up against England Saxons in Toronto.
The Saxons were very impressive when they opened the tournament last Saturday with a 64-10 dismissal of the USA in Ottawa.
While the Saxons game will be crucial in deciding which of the bowl, plate and cup finals Ireland ‘A’ will contest in Chicago on Saturday week, team captain Bob Casey is not looking beyond the American game.
“Playing two games in four days is a challenge for us, it’s not ideal. We’ve got a very good squad and we’re certainly going to need our squad with the fixtures the way they are,” Casey said.
“But we’re really excited about the tournament. We’re looking no further than the USA on Wednesday.
“They’re a very good side and they were very competitive during the World Cup.”
There has been strong sunshine and high temperatures of 27-28 degrees celsius since the Irish squad’s arrival in Kingston so is the weather a concern for Casey and his team-mates?
“I think some of the Irish pasty boys are going to have to be a little bit careful in this sun!”, the Dubliner joked.
“We’ll certainly have to consider it (the weather) and take a lot of fluids on board. But we’re all professional, we’re all very fit guys so it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Wednesday’s evening kick-off will ease any Irish worries over the conditions and the skipper explained that the squad have serious ambitions about returning home with silverware, as well as impressing Clarke and newly-appointed senior coach Declan Kidney.
“We’ve a lot of young talented guys with us, this is a big opportunity for them to stake a claim with a new Irish senior coach coming in in Declan Kidney. Good tournaments for them could bode well for the future,” Casey added.
“It’s nice (to be captain). They’re a great bunch of lads – very talented and really enthusiastic – and we feel we have a great chance of going the whole way here.”