INPHO/Dan Sheridan Fergus McFadden spots Paddy Wallace during weight training in Wellington.
# Players' room
Fergus McFadden’s World Cup diary: week 4
“I actually thought Sean’s little talk was pretty good on Monday but the lads weren’t happy and the bus driver was told to pull over and he was kicked off and made to find his own way to the hotel.”

AFTER THE ITALY game we were all in great from.

Obviously everyone was delighted to get the win and go on to the quarter-finals as pool winners.

Leaving the game it felt even bigger than the last one or two – there must have been 80 to 90% Irish in the stands in Dunedin which had a massive effect on us.

The post-game time was similar to that which I’ve written about before. We all headed back to the team room in the hotel to spend some time in each other’s company.

This time though there was loads of wives, girlfriends and parents there, so it was extra special.

We all had a drink in the hotel and there was a bit of a sing-song.  Damien Varley got the guitar out again and some of the dads – like Paul O’Connell’s and Andrew Trimble’s – gave us a tune.

Everyone was in flying form.

On the road again

The following day was for travelling and we made it down here to Wellington. But not without incident.

It’s Sean Cronin’s task anytime we arrive somewhere new to get up in front of the squad on the bus and give us some interesting historical facts or information about the main attractions in the area or whatever.

If the mob – or the squad – don’t like his work though a chant of ‘off the bus, off the bus!” breaks out.

I actually thought Sean’s little talk was pretty good on Monday but the lads weren’t happy and the bus driver was told to pull over and he was kicked off and made to find his own way to the hotel.

I wouldn’t mind but it was raining like I haven’t seen since maybe last winter back home. I obviously thought this was hilarious – for a minute or two.

It’s my own job to tell a joke or a funny story every day on the team bus.  Well after Sean was kicked off I got up to do my bit and, unfortunately, it didn’t go down too well either.

The bus pulled over and I had to walk the last 300m to our new hotel in the rain.

Back to work

We’ve settled in well since then and have been training well. We did a lot of work Tuesday and Wedensday – it’s a day off today (Thursday). We’re all really raring to go for Saturday.

We’ve been made aware of the great support at home too with 900,00 people watching the telly on Sunday morning or whatever it was.  That makes a difference.

As for Wales? We know it’s going to be a battle.

They’re playing really well at the moment and were probably unlucky not to beat South Africa in their first game.

They’re playing lovely rugby, they’ve got a young side but with some old heads in there and they’re scoring tries through their outside backs which adds a lot of flair.

We’re under no illusions about how hard it will be, it’s as big a challenge as any of us will face.  But it’s a quarter-final at a World Cup and winner takes all.

For our part the mood is great in the camp. The lads are all really tuned in at this stage. We know it’s in our own hands and we can make history. If we play to our best – the way we know we can play – we should win I think.

We’ve got that little bit more experience and we want to make that count. Hopefully that’ll get us over the line. But we know they’re a serious outfit.

‘It shows that anything can happen’

Dan Carter’s injury has been in e very paper and on every channel  down here. There’s not a person in the country doesn’t know he’s hurt.

It shows that anything can happen in the World Cup and it’s a real eye-opener for everyone.

For Carter himself, it’s awful – at this stage of his career and at this tournament in his home country it’s a real shame. But it creates opportunities for others and that’s sport I suppose.

I’m rooming with Rob Kearney again this week; the hotel is nice and is in a bit closer to the city , though the weather hasn’t been too good though since we arrived.

This week has just been about the work though and everyone is 100% concentrating on getting ready for Saturday.  Put it this way – it’s nice to be around the middle of a lively, big city – but we’re not doing much to enjoy it.

We’re here to get a job done.

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