Begley: Ireland won't back down from an International Rules scrap

Colm Begley has said that Ireland will be ready for whatever Australia throw at them in Friday’s first International Rules test.

Begley clashes with Australia's Kade Simpson during last year's series.
Begley clashes with Australia's Kade Simpson during last year's series.
Image: ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

IRELAND ARE READY to go toe-to-toe with the Australians if Friday’s first International Rules test gets physical, according to Colm Begley.

The Laois man, who has experience of the game down under from his stints with both the Brisbane Lions and St Kilda in the AFL, has told his team-mates not to expect a warm welcome from their hosts in Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium.

But speaking to AAP yesterday, he insisted the touring party won’t be backing down when the going gets tough as expected.

“We expect a physical game for the Australians. We know they’re very passionate people, very proud too,” Begley said.

“I’m expecting a very physical game from both sides, but physical within the boundaries of the rules of the game.

“I don’t think any players mind the physical game.

I like to see my players react in the proper way and not back and down and I’m sure they won’t back down either.

The annual compromise rules series between the two countries has often been criticised for descending into violent scuffles in the past.

Ireland’s tour to Australia in 2007 was scrapped following a series of flare-ups the previous year, including an unsavoury incident which saw Graham Geraghty left unconscious and hospitalised.

“The brawling that happened a few years ago … some of the things that happened were very, very bad in regard to the game,” Begley said.

“They weren’t in the right aspect for what we were looking for in the game.”

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Begley’s comments follow similar sentiments shared by Australian coach Rodney Eade, who said yesterday that he hoped that the game would be as physical as the rules allow.

“We certainly need to play within the spirit of the game and we need to foster the relations between the two countries. But having said that, we need to be able to tackle well and be able to pressure them.

The fact is you have to tackle properly. The head is sacrosanct, you don’t shirtfront people and you don’t hit people late.

The first test between Ireland and Australia will be live on TG4 this Friday at 9.45am BST.

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