Quinlan takes no prisoners with new rallying cry to fans
HE slated Irish rugby fans for downing pints in the bar rather than taking their seats ahead of the England match. This time around Alan Quinlan isn't taking any chances – or prisoners.
The former Ireland international is fronting a tongue-in-cheek poster campaign a la Kitchener's wartime recruitment drive telling Irish supporters: "I want you . . . in your seats before kick off!".
The images will be shown on television screens throughout the Aviva Stadium today in a bid to get bums on seats to create some atmosphere ahead of what will be a must-win match for Declan Kidney against France.
Quinlan lamented the poor atmosphere at the England match last month saying hundreds of fans were standing inside drinking, scoffing chips and watching the game on TV instead of cheering on their team in the stands.
The IRFU said today's match will have a capacity crowd of over 51,000 – including 5,000 French – and generate €60m for the local economy.
Stephen McNamara, spokesman for the IRFU, encouraged fans to soak up the atmosphere in the Green Zone where entertainment will be laid on in the streets surrounding the stadium from 3.30pm.
But he wants fans to be in their seats at least 15 minutes before the teams take to the pitch.
"We want to ensure that the Aviva will be packed, vibrant and in full voice to welcome the Irish team onto the pitch and then give them that invaluable edge throughout the match," he said.
Meanwhile, French rugby fans were already getting into the swing of things in Dublin's Temple Bar yesterday. The general consensus was that Les Bleus, who have had a dismal Six Nations campaign recording three defeats out of three, will shade it this time. Although Charley Blank was the lone dissenting voice predicting an Ireland win – but then his great-grandmother was Irish.
"I think the French team is not ambitious in this tournament," said Charley from near Lille in northern France.
"We haven't a number 10 so it's a problem. In Ireland, you have Sexton but not tomorrow. But in France, in the championship, all the number 10s are foreigners," he explained.
Friends Philippe Lucari (15) and Theo Doucet (14), from Marseilles, were more confident. "I think Ireland has a team with too many injuries," said Philippe.
Yvan Codelupi from Savoie in the French Alps was willing to guess the final score.
"12-9 to France. It will be a tough match but France are going to win," he opined.
Dave Robbins: Page 27 Sport: Pages 70-76