Stephen Ferris, Conor Murray and Damien Varley received an enthusiastically warm welcome from some of Ireland’s newest supporters during a visit to Selwyn Primary School in Rotorua today.
The pupils and teachers from Selwyn Primary School were out in force to meet and greet three members of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup squad, Stephen Ferris, Conor Murray and Damien Varley.
Banners proclaiming ‘Go Ireland!’ and ‘Fáilte’ were visible as the players made their way into the school grounds, to the beat of drums and the sound of a traditonal haka.
The multi-talented pupils performed hakas and sang songs for the visitors, who got a real sense of the children’s proud Rotorua heritage, their love of rugby and their eagerness to embrace the World Cup and the Ireland team.
Stephen, Conor and Damien were blown away by the reception and happily signed autographs and posed for photos with the colourfully dressed kids, following the squad’s coach trip from Taupo to Rotorua.
They also dished out some IRFU goodies while chatting about last weekend’s historic win over Australia and looking forward to Sunday’s Pool C encounter with Russia at Rotorua International Stadium.
The Ireland team and replacements for that game will be announced tomorrow (Friday) at 1.15pm local time/2.15am Irish time.
Regarding the injury situation in camp, team manager Paul McNaughton said: “Paul (O’Connell) and Gordon (D’Arcy) had scans on their hamstrings while Tommy (Bowe) had a scan on his calf strain.
“Those three players remain under treatment. If they are to be considered for the game on Sunday they need to train tomorrow morning.
“At the moment that looks doubtful, but no decision over their participation will be made until after training.”
Follow the Ireland team in New Zealand on www.twitter.com/irfurugby.