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O’Brien’s Efforts Acknowledged As Thousands Tune In Back Home

O’Brien’s Efforts Acknowledged As Thousands Tune In Back Home

As Ireland prepare to face familiar rivals Wales at the quarter-final stage of the Rugby World Cup, the tournament website has selected Sean O’Brien as its Player of Pool C.

In its Pool C review, the Rugby World Cup website highlighted the efforts of Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll who became only the third player to score at four separate World Cup tournaments.

There was praise for Ronan O’Gara, who has landed 16 out of 19 place-kicks so far, and his provincial colleagues Keith Earls – ‘a versatile three-quarter full of menace’ – and Paul O’Connell – ‘a tireless workhorse in the loose as well as the set piece’.

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Leinster duo Cian Healy and Jamie Heaslip were also singled out, the young prop being dubbed ‘the star of an Irish front row that forced the Wallabies into submission, and later cowed the more distinguished Italian line-up’.

Number 8 Heaslip’s dynamic form was acknowledged, his importance to the team being evident in that he ‘did not put a foot wrong whilst playing every minute of the pool matches’.

However, their Player of Pool C award was bestowed upon Sean O’Brien, the reigning ERC European Player of the Year.

The in-form O’Brien, still just 24, stood out as ‘despite performing in the unfamiliar openside position, he has been a rampaging ball of destruction in his first Rugby World Cup, whether in attack or defence’.

Meanwhile, RTÉ have confirmed that Ireland’s 36-6 pool victory over Italy in Dunedin last Sunday attracted a huge TV audience despite the early morning start.

An average audience of 735,000* watched the match on RTÉ Two, with viewership peaking at 918,000** in the final minutes of what was a superb second half.

RTÉ Two’s programme coverage attracted an average of 630,000*** viewers throughout the whole broadcast which was two hours and 45 minutes in duration.

Source: Nielsen TV Audience Measurement

* Actual match (8.30am-10.15am) average viewers – Live + VOSDAL
** One minute peak viewership – Live + VOSDOL
*** Average programme audience (8am-10.47am) – Live + VOSDAL

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