Friday 24 March 2017

Springbok scalp key to ending World Cup hoodoo - Easterby

Simon Easterby: It’s a different matter away from home. Picture: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Simon Easterby: It’s a different matter away from home. Picture: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Simon Easterby believes that Ireland must beat one of the southern hemisphere giants on their home soil if they want to break their World Cup quarter-final hoodoo in 2019.

The forwards coach has set his sights on achieving that goal over the course of the next three weeks by beating the Springboks in South Africa.

Joe Schmidt has no fresh injury worries for Saturday's first Test at Newlands after his squad trained at the Westerford High School yesterday ahead of tomorrow's team announcement.

Ireland have never beaten South Africa away from home and, while they beat Australia in New Zealand during the 2011 World Cup pool stages, they have not won a Test while on tour since beating the Wallabies in 1979.

They beat the Springboks in Dublin two years ago, but Easterby concedes it's a different matter away from home.

Despite losing a host of front-line players including Johnny Sexton, Sean O'Brien, Cian Healy, Tommy Bowe, Rob Kearney and Peter O'Mahony to injury, the former Lions flanker wants the next men up to step in and step up.

"It's important we beat a southern hemisphere side away from home," he said at the squad's base in Cape Town.

"If we want to do better than get to the quarter-final of the next World Cup then we're going to have to do that, beat a southern hemisphere team outside of Dublin.

"So we need to start to build that now, not in three years' time when it comes to the World Cup. That's got to be something that we're striving towards now.

"Those home games are slightly different than when you tour as well. It's a different mentality but a fantastic challenge for everybody."

Irish Independent

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