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Shane Jennings' World Cup diary: week three

“The lads are really focused and everyone realises of course that’s it’s, put simply, do or die,” writes the Leinster man from Dunedin.

Shane Jennings talks to RTE's Michael Corcoran.
Shane Jennings talks to RTE's Michael Corcoran.
Image: INPHO/Billy Stickland

IT’S WIN OR go home time.

We’re focused on tomorrow’s game with Italy here in Dunedin all week as you can imagine.

What can we expect? I think I’m the same as everyone else; when you see the Italians, you know what you’re going to get.

They have a powerful scrum, they rely on it to set a platform, they’ve a very good pack and their out half will kick goals if you let him.

Nick Mallet has them set up in a very structured way and if they get on top up front they’ll make it count.

But make no mistake they have really good backs as well in the likes of Masi and Bergamasco. They’ve got a strong old side.

Unfortunately I’m not involved this time around.  But the lads are really focused and everyone realises of course that’s it’s, put simply, do or die.

We had a good week since we last spoke. I think we all enjoyed Lake Taupo and Rotorua and obviously the Russia game was great to be involved in.

Getting the try – in a World Cup – was the icing on the cake.

Squad rotation

Some of the lads hadn’t played in this tournament before and it was great for them to get their game time. There’s a really good feeling amongst the squad now and a lot of that is down to everyone getting a shot

It was good to get the game over with too, get the win and bonus point. We certainly didn’t disrespect Russia but I think even if lads weren’t saying it, this game and this week was at the back of everyone’s mind. We knew there was bigger games to come.

As soon as we got out of Rotorua you could tell we were switched on to the next hurdle and that was shaped even more when we saw the Italians the other day against the US getting an impressive bonus point. They’re a good side, there’s no doubt.

From our point of view it was good to move on from Rotorua and training’s gone well all week. We trained Tuesday and Wednesday and took Thursday off. A few of the lads went shooting and others were fishing but myself and some others went out for a bit of a four-ball scramble in St Clare golf course I think it was called.

I was absolutely shocking.

It was myself, Andrew Trimble, Brian O’Driscoll and Rob Kearney and we managed to come in seven under. Somehow however, Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Paddy Wallace, Geordan Murphy and Eoin Reddan came in eight under. They obviously cheated. But they still took the money.

That was about the height of it that day and was good to switch off as we had a couple of intense days of training and meetings and stuff like that. The town started to come alive yesterday with the crowds starting to build and a lot of Irish rolling in. It’s go time.

Tommy Bowe checks out the closed roof on the Otago Stadium Pic: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

There was a captain’s run at 1pm and lots of us were really keen to see the new ground with all the talk of the new roof and all that and a few of us will go off to yoga and maybe some weights .

In the afternoon then if you’re not involved on Sunday, it’s a case of going off for a coffee while the others make sure they’re prepared as well as possible.

We just need to make sure we know all the calls and are up to speed.

Everyone’s ready to roll.

Fergus McFadden’s World Cup diary: part three

Check out our Rugby World Cup mini-site here>

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Shane Jennings

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