Speaking straight after the completion of the pool allocation draw for Rugby World Cup 2011, Ireland coach Declan Kidney admitted that although Ireland will be a ‘target team’ as second seeds, being pitted in Pool C with Australia and Italy was quite a favourable outcome.
Commenting on Monday’s suspense-filled draw, which took place in central London, Declan Kidney said: “It is a fantastic way to kick off the competition but it’s so far out it is impossible to say who will be around and what players will be showing form.
“Ireland and Australia have played each other in World Cups before and (the draw) will add spice to the Ireland and Italy games over the next three years.
“When you are ranked liked we were, second in the pool, you are the target team for a lot of the others and everyone will be looking to have a go at us.
“Tournament rugby is so different to competitions like the Six Nations because there are a lot of games in a short period of time.
“We need to build a squad in the Six Nations. Every match is physical at the World Cup so we need to be prepared for that.”
Australia coach Robbie Deans, who guided the Wallabies to an 18-12 win over Ireland in Melbourne last June, knows the pressure will also be on his men to produce in 2011 as Pool C’s top-ranked side.
“We know now what’s ahead of us in three years so I guess it will allow a bit of intrigue and interest for the viewing public and the playing group, but to be fair, beyond that it won’t be something we are focusing on yet,” Deans admitted.
“The reality is you have to live day to day and we will continue to build in the knowledge that if we do that it will serve us well in the long run.”
Ireland and Italy will lock horns in the 2009 RBS 6 Nations in Rome on February 15 next and although Ireland have never lost to Italy in a competitive fixture, current Azzurri boss Nick Mallett believes the gap between the sides could be a lot closer in three years’ time.
“Ireland at the moment are a lot better than Italy…three years down the line we are not sure how many of their players are still going to be around and what sort of players Italy will have in three years time,” the South African mused.
“It is interesting that Ireland also didn’t make the quarter-finals in last year’s World Cup and neither did Italy, so in a sense we are not too unhappy about the draw we have got.”