In order to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 1991, Canada must target wins over Italy and Romania and hope for a massive upset of either Ireland or France. “All their club players get paid to play”. The retirement of O’Driscoll was meant to signal the end of an era.
“So that’s hugely exciting, and I don’t take anything for granted whatsoever”.
How has Joe Schmidt changed the side?
Tomas Mulholland (21), from Rostrevor, said: “The Canada match will be like a home game for us because there’s not too far to travel”.
That was not the case four years ago.
Utility back Luke Fitzgerald will slot in at inside centre in place of the Connacht man, with boss Joe Schmidt showing his hand with his strongest-available starting line-up.
How has it worked so well?
“They’ve really had string of losses which is not very Canadian in the way they play the game”. Ultimately, on a Saturday, that is his biggest strength.
Although England are the tournament’s official hosts, Cardiff will play a key role in Rugby World Cup 2015. Jonny Sexton is one of the world’s best fly halves. We are again in a group without the three southern hemisphere powerhouses. But listen – we realise that expectation is there.
“We have just been monitoring his situation”, said Crowley. “We’ve shown our ability to do it in recent years, but our front five need to get parity with France and Italy’s powerful packs”. We have to ensure we think clearly in hard moments.
Yet inside the dressing room he has a reputation of demanding the highest of professional standards and adherence to his game plan.
Situated on the wonderful cobbled King Street, The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer offers stylish surroundings to watch the Rugby World Cup inside a 17th century building. Can you look back and learn anything from that?
“There are a huge amount of teams that could do very well in this World Cup“, added Byrne. “I remember when I was at Clermont and we played Munster in Europe”.
“Sergio is clearly a world-class player and would be missed by any team in the world, but there are another 30 high-level players who dreamed of playing in this tournament”.
Ireland (XV v Canada): R Kearney; D Kearney, J Payne, L Fitzgerald, K Earls; J Sexton, C Murray; J McGrath, R Best, M Ross, I Henderson, P O’Connell, P O’Mahony, S O’Brien, J Heaslip.
How have Ireland changed since then?
“I know that people probably won’t see them in the same light, but I think they are an incredible banana skin for us”.
“It was more just their physicality and the emotion and intensity they brought to the occasion”.
“The talk may as properly begin as soon as the World Cup is over”. Does that make a big difference?
In preparing for the years tournament, the Canadians have travelled thousands of miles across their homeland, kindling the support and anticipation of the nation. Even in New Zealand, on the other side of the world, we were the second-best supported team after the All Blacks.
Still Canada’s set pieces have been unsteady going into the tournament.
The Anchor is Gloucester Road’s sports bar with a lot of space, drinks that wont break your wallet, and, of course, TVs everywhere you look.