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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Kiss Content With Pre-Match Preparations

Kiss Content With Pre-Match Preparations

The Ireland squad took part in the Captain’s Run session at Eden Park on Friday as they completed their preparations for the crunch Rugby World Cup Pool C clash with Australia.

Keith Earls, who has been selected to start again on the left wing, sat out today’s final training session, but Les Kiss said Earls’ absence was preplanned.

“We have protocols in place where players will work certain times of the week and have little rest periods here and there, so that’s just part of our planning. He’s completely fine,” explained the Ireland defence coach.

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Kiss has liked what he has seen in training this week, in terms of the accuracy and focus shown and how the players have applied themselves.

“From a personal matter, this game isn’t about beating Australia…it’s about the right things, the right rewards coming for our players because they’ve worked so hard.

“They’ve been committed to the cause, and they deserve a break. I just hope that it works well for them this weekend.

“The boys have prepared well. I know a lot of people don’t give us much of a chance but it’s a game the lads are up for.

“They have played in a lot of pressure games before like Heineken Cup finals and big Tests. They know what it’s about and know what resources they have internally.”

The individual tussles at half-back are whetting many appetites for Saturday’s game. Australia’s playmakers will be Quade Cooper and Will Genia from the Queensland Reds’ Super 15 title-winning side.

Ireland head coach Declan Kidney has gone with the Leinster duo of Jonathan Sexton and Eoin Reddan, who both have Heineken Cup winners’ medals in their back pockets.

Kiss accepts that Ireland will have to be on their toes defensively in order to curb the influence of Cooper and Genia. If they can do that and force their own pressure, then the pre-match favourites may be found wanting.

“Cooper does rely on a lot of what Genia can do to the defence around the ruck area. We’ve focused a little bit on that area in terms of closing the down the options that Genia does have,” he added.

“Cooper, depending on how the game goes and considering the conditions, we just have to find the right moments to put the pressure on him.

“If the right pressure is there, then he has to ask the question of himself whether he’s up for it and I guess that’s what it’s about…pressure. People respond to pressure in different ways, and in these big matches that’s what it’s about.”

Meanwhile, thousands of fans have snapped up free tickets to cheer on Ireland at Saturday’s special live screening at the O2 in Dublin.

Fans travelling to the sold-out event at the O2 are reminded to print off their tickets. The doors open at 8am for the 9.30am kick-off.

MC Des Cahill will be joined by Isa Nacewa, David Wallace and Shane Horgan for a live discussion. There will be plenty of special treats for supporters on the day too.

Follow the Ireland team in New Zealand on www.twitter.com/irfurugby.