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'Ireland didn't stray offside'

IRELAND and Leinster juggernaut Sean O'Brien has laughed off suggestions that the Irish World Cup squad partied harder than England, declaring: "We did no dwarf throwing."

The 24-year-old flanker, dubbed the 'Tullow Tank', was left bemused by comments from an unnamed English player who made accusations about Ireland's off-field behaviour in a leaked World Cup report.

"We weren't really dragged into it, to be honest," he said. "As far as I read, they mentioned us being on a night out as well and some of the Irish media were with us.

"But I can assure you there was no dwarf throwing on our part, none of that craic.

"We were having a good time together, but no one got out of hand, no one did anything wrong."

O'Brien admits that the team did have a few drinks after their historic win over the Wallabies, but that was their only night out in 50 days. The Carlowvian does see the benefit of allowing professional athletes to let loose every now and then.

"It's what I say when I'm coaching the lads down in Tullow RFC. After a few weeks and a couple of nice wins I say we'll go out tonight and have a bit of craic together," he said. "You can certainly see the change the next week with the lads. Lads are happy, they're relaxed, they're focused again. People need that every now and then."

In a week where leaked reports claimed English players had turned on one another and their management, O'Brien admits that it is not an atmosphere he would relish returning to.

"There would certainly be tension between the players if you knew who was saying stuff," he said.

"It is going to upset a few people, but if it's the truth then so be it and you face up to facts, but it certainly wouldn't be a nice place to be. I certainly wouldn't like to be involved in it."


Following his barnstorming displays in New Zealand, O'Brien found himself stifled by the Welsh, as well as Montpellier in the Heineken Cup, and admits he must rethink his approach to the game. "I wouldn't say there is any greater expectation on me apart from my own," he said. "The ruck is the big thing for me in terms of improvement.

"There are different approaches and you have to be a lot smarter."