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Ireland and RWC 2003
Ireland and RWC 2003
(Uncle Fester and the Boys in Green on the Rampage Down Under)
16 Oct 2003
[RWC]

Well better late than never and after Ireland's opening victory over Romania, we're all hoping for the same about the Irish team. So here goes:

The Good

The draw is a big bonus to Ireland & the Argentinian coach is moaning about the fact already (nice!). 4 games over 4 weekends and also a nice 'warm-up' with the 2 minnows from the group up first (Romania and Uruguay). Then we meet Las Pumas before finishing up with Australia.

Really you couldn't pick a better build up of games and hopefully it's all set up for a top of the table clash on Nov 1. After going down to Las Pumas in the last world cup it is imperative that Ireland make the Quarter Finals this time round.

Keith Woods, back in the fold and leading the team, is a big bonus to the whole team & country. After a horrific run of injuries, everyone is hoping that he comes through unscathed and improves with each game. This RWC is his final fling and let's hope he turns on the style and inspires the team to do likewise.

The travelling (& local) boys in green will provide a huge fillup for the team with strong support.

The Bad

The Group - called the Group of Death (how original!). It is definitely the strongest group with 3 teams vying for 2 QF places. Meeting the aussies on their own patch & our conquerers from the last RWC is not what Ireland would have wanted. However we know that if we win our first 2 games it sets us up nicely for the remaining games and if successful, then the QF onwards...

The weather - who would believe it - having trained all year for hot & dry conditions, the first 3 weeks 'on tour' have been blighted by the cold and wet weather in the sydney area. Let's hope it improves (or maybe not??).

The Ugly

Geordan Murphy (FB) breaking a leg in the final warm-up game v Scotland was a huge blow as he has looked our best back all year putting O'Driscoll in the shade. The RWC was the platform that many felt would launch him firmly into the minds of all rugby lovers, a huge blow for a player of genuine class.

Players to look out for

Forwards
Wood - Hooker, the talisman and leader.
O'Connell - Lock, huge potential and now's the time to show it.
Gleeson - Openside Flanker, born in Ireland but rared in Australia and returning to where he learned his rugby - here's hopeing he shows what they missed!
Costello - Flanker / No.8, the man that puts in the hard yards, crashing the ball up the middle.

Backs
Humphreys / O'Gara - No.10, whichever gets the nod needs to control proceedings (O'Gara's the man for me...so expect Humphreys to be selected!)
Stringer - scrumhalf who dictates the tempo.
O'Driscoll - Centre, needs to produce the form he showed during the Lions visit.
Hickey - left wing, who's confidence is now on a high - watch him fly....

The Outcome?

All the talk is now over & all preparation done. Regardless of the results this is the best prepared irish side to travel to any RWC. Consequently now is the time for them to deliver. If we go out at the Pool stage then it'll be a massive disappointment, full-stop.

A win over Argentina and giving the Aussies a mighty run for top spot is expected, followed by a QF spot. A SF spot would represent a successful run in the RWC and isn't beyond this unit if the play to their potential - whether they will is anyone's guess - and would justify the IRB's no.3 ranking that Ireland were given prior to the start of the RWC.

by

Let us know what you think!

Nice to see you JOC, and as you say at the top, better late than never. However it would have been better if you could have told us about the other stars in the Ireland team (other than Fester and Waltzing O'driscoll) before the RWC started, then we could have picked them up for our Fantasy rugby teams and looked right smart!

Personally I'm looking for Ireland and Argentina to come out of the pool of death, although that's probably tricky to manufacture since ARG lost to AUS, I'll get Wobbly onto it, he'll work out a formula I'm sure!

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