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Dublin: 13°C Friday 23 April 2021
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'Buzzing' Irish camp already focusing on Italy

The Irish camp is in good form after the win over Russia and has already turned its attention to the final pool clash against Italy.

Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

IN MASSIVE CONTRAST to 2007, the Irish camp is ‘buzzing’ at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. So says Ronan O’Gara.

The Cork man was named Man of the Match after Ireland’s comprehensive 62-12 victory over Russia on Sunday morning, contributing 15 points with the boot, and he revealed that confidence is now sky high among his team-mates.

“It’s a good squad to be in at the moment,” O’Gara said after the win. “We were keeping it simple. The conditions were poor, but the pitch is a great surface. We had good ball in hand, there were good passes and good strikes.”

He added: “The camp is buzzing at the minute and we want to make the most of this opportunity.”

Coach Declan Kidney declared himself satisfied with the result, while admitting that the performance wasn’t perfect. He said: “We probably went a bit asleep in the middle of both halves but we’re delighted with the win and to score that number of tries.

“We had to go strong at the start of the first half – and we did that – and then we had a golden patch before half-time.

“Three tries in five or six minutes was good for us but we had to work for it and little bits we made hard for ourselves and the Russians scored two good tries against us.”

Speaking to reporters, the Ireland manager said his players’ focus had already switched to the final pool showdown with Italy and compared the fixture to the ultimate Cup final. He insisted:

“Australia was the big game everyone was talking about, but we always knew in the background that beating Italy would be vital for us to get out of the group.

“Because of the points structure we had to pick up maximum points in our first three games in order to be guaranteed to get out of the group at this stage. The fact we’re in a winner-takes-all situation makes it like a cup final with a big prize to play for in getting into the quarter-finals.

“We know that we could be going home on the plane the following day too. We’re under no illusions about the task ahead of us.”

READ – As it happened: Ireland v Russia

READ – Hard Yards: A look back over the best of Sunday’s action

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