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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

O’Brien Receives World Cup Stamp Of Approval

O’Brien Receives World Cup Stamp Of Approval

Despite Ireland failing to get beyond the quarter-final stage in New Zealand, young back rower Sean O’Brien certainly had a first Rugby World Cup to remember. The tournament’s official website has now hailed him as one of its five best players.

The 2011 Rugby World Cup produced countless outstanding individual performances from its opening on September 9, when New Zealand beat Tonga comfortably at Eden Park, to its finale on Sunday when the hosts beat France anything but comfortably at the same ground.

The official RWC website has selected the tournament’s top five players and Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien is one of them.

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O’Brien, who turns 25 in February, came into the World Cup as the reigning ERC European Player of the Year and he more than delivered on his reputation with some barnstorming displays.

He played in four of Ireland’s five matches, starring against Australia and Italy and scoring his second Test try in the win over Russia.

He forged a powerful and dynamic back row combination with Stephen Ferris and Jamie Heaslip and New Zealanders, in particular, admired his strong carries and tough-tackling qualities.

In addition, the tournament website picked out World Cup winners Israel Dagg and Jerome Kaino for their excellent efforts in helping the Kiwis reclaim the title, Jamie Roberts got a nod for his performances in inspiring Wales’ run through to the semi-finals and there was some deserved recognition for Namibia’s talismanic captain Jacques Burger.

SEAN O’BRIEN (IRELAND):

Ireland’s finest moment in the tournament came when they beat Australia in their Pool C encounter, and flanker Sean O’Brien was at the heart of the suffocating defensive effort that restricted the Wallabies to six points.

The 24-year-old was forced into the openside flanker role from his regular blindside position when David Wallace was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury, and he stepped up to the task with an expertise beyond his years.

O’Brien led his team in both tackles and runs against the Wallabies and was rewarded for the consistency of his powerful ball-carrying with a try against Russia.

To cap off a memorable campaign for the Irish Rugby Writers’ Player of the Year, O’Brien was named man-of-the-match in Ireland’s win over Italy that sent them into the quarter-finals.