RWC2011: Ireland Team preview

1 09 2011

Stephen Ferris gets to grips with England's Courtney Lawes. Pic: Ken Sutton

 

Rugby World Cup Pedigree:
Ireland have been off form for the most part of this year. The only game where they showed what they can really do was the 24-8 defeat of England in the final game of the Six Nations to deny England a Grand Slam. Since then they have lost all four of their warm-up games to Scotland, France (home and away) and England. While there has been much improvements in the forward play, the back line seems to be bereft of ideas and any penetration.

Track Record:
Ireland don’t have much of a track record in the World Cup, they have reached the quarter finals but never progressed beyond that stage four times. The only significant record they hold is the top points scorer of the tournament for Ralph Keyes the Irish fly-half. After a dismal 2007 World Cup in France, Ireland will be looking to make amends.

Best Rugby World Cup moment:
The most iconic moment for the Irish team in previous World Cups came in the ’91 quarter final against Australia, Gordon Hamilton scored a try to put Ireland ahead by 3 points with 5 minutes on the clock. Ireland did not seal the win as a quick tap penalty from Michael Lynagh led to him to score the winning try in the dying seconds leaving 40,000 heartbroken Irish fans wondering what happened!

Biggest Rugby World Cup win: 64-7 (v Namibia 2003)
Biggest Rugby World Cup defeat: 19-43 (v New Zealand 1995)

Key Player:
The Irish captain Brian O’Driscoll is heading into his fourth and final World Cup. O’Driscoll remains one of the greatest centres in world rugby to this day. He made his 100th appearance for Ireland against Wales in the 2010 RBS 6 Nations, has led Ireland to four Triple Crowns (in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009) as well as a Championship and Grand Slam.

One to Watch:
The ‘Tullow Tank’, Sean O’Brien has been in devastating for over the last two seasons. He picked up the ERC player of the Year 2011 after a barnstorming Heineken Cup run with Leinster. He is the complete back rower, combining awesome strength with speed and agility. The Carlow man started all nine of Leinster’s Heineken Cup matches, picking up three man-of-the-match awards, and was also first choice for Ireland for all their games in the Six Nations, being named man-of-the-match against Italy.

Rugby World Cup Fixtures:
11/09 – 07:00 BST v USA, New Plymouth
17/09 – 09:30 BST v Australia, Auckland
25/09 – 07:00 BST v Russia, Rotorua
02/10 – 09:30 BST v Italy, Dunedin

Key Clash:
As mentioned in our Australia preview a few days back, the key clash in Pool C is Ireland v The Wallabies. The winner of this game will surely top the pool and likely to face Fiji/Tonga/Wales in a quarter final. Ireland will have to contain the mercurial Australian back line of Genia, Cooper, O’Connor and Beale.

Odds: 40/1 to win the World Cup outright and 3/1 to win their pool.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney says:
Kidney is adamant that losing four warm-up games should not create a sense of negativity around Ireland’s preparations:
“If you don’t win it you are disappointed. But at times you have to see a bigger picture, see where you’re going. While we’re disappointed with our losses against England and France, I’d like to feel that if we had to play them again in five or six weeks’ time we’ll have learned from this experience and we’ll be the better for it.”

Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll says:
“This is my last one, I’m not going to look back in five or 10 years and wish that I’d been into it a bit more. I will enjoy the next six, hopefully, seven weeks and, hopefully, create some new memories along the way”
O’Driscoll is keen to point out the World Cup has not started yet: “We weren’t playing in the World Cup. The World Cup is our next game, We’ve a big two weeks ahead of us.”

Prediction:
It all boils down to the crucial game against Australia. A win means an easier path to the semi’s. So far we have not seen anything to expect Ireland to win that game, so, I predict a quarter final exit.

Position: Quarter final exit.

Original article written for therugbyblog.co.uk





RWC2011 – Ireland’s host towns and training bases

30 08 2011

Ireland depart for New Zealand today for the Rugby World Cup. If you are traveling to watch them, you might be interested in the below schedule of their host cities and training facilities they will be using.

Ireland hold an open training session in Queenstown Events Centre Sept 4th from 1:30pm, keep an eye on this page in the next week or two for details of more..

Ireland’s Host Town and Training Centres




RWC2011: Get the apps: Android

30 08 2011

RWC2011 Android Apps review

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With the Rugby World Cup only around the corner, we are going to review the best free apps available for your smartphone, today it’s Android’s turn, will follow up with a post on iOS apps shortly!

Official Rugby World Cup 2011

Features:
– Access the Match Center for live match coverage, including live commentary, stats and video highlights.
– Get the latest news and keep up to date with the RWC Daily video.
– In New Zealand and want to know what to do? Go to the Fan Zone section to find out what events are on near where you are right now.
– Going to the match? Check out stadium locations, seating plans and facilities.

Our Verdict: Polished and packed full of info, would be handy if match times were localized.
Our Rating: *****
Marketplace Link

Rugby World Cup 2011 Tracker

Features:
– Live match updates
– Summary of the most recent match results
– All upcoming matches
– All match fixtures including stadium and referee info
– Group tables
– Knockout stage
– Team Information
– Localized match times
– News
– Background results updates and match summaries
– Reminders for upcoming matches
– Add a match to your calendar

Our Verdict:  Not as polished as the official app but a quality product none the less, we love the localised kickoff times!
Our Rating: ****
Marketplace Link

Rugby World Cup 2011 Free

Features:
– Live score updates
– top scorers
– fixtures and group standings
– squad lists and player records
– historical data
– all the results from every tournament starting from the first in 1987
– collated tables, see who has the best overall win loss record in world cup history
– head to head, see how your country stacks up against other teams in past tournaments
– see who the all time top points scorers are

Our Verdict:  Again, not as polished as the official app, Love the historical data from every RWC, will settle a few pub arguments no doubt!
Our Rating: ***
Marketplace Link






Looking for decent rugby tee’s?

26 05 2011

If like me, you are always on the lookout for unique or funny rugby-related gear, I think you’ll like this site: dumptackle.com They are a new business started up by a couple of mates selling rugby-related t-shirts.

I’ve been enjoying some banter with these lads on twitter and facebook where they regularly have giveaways and promo’s. dumpTackle want to hear suggestions from fans and try to get out as many ideas as possible, I reckon that we should submit some Irish rugby suggestions, They already have a “BOD is GOD” design in the Legends section, who else from Irish rugby would you like to see in there? I’m sure there could be a best-selling t-shirt in Paul O’Connell’s “Fear of God” speech from below?

Keep an eye out for their soon-to-be-launched RWC range!

Disclaimer: Recently I won a T-Shirt from the guys in dumpTackle and as a thank-you I said I would do a small promo piece for this start-up business.
 







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