Sunday 15 September 2019

Captain Liam Finn: Ireland happy to fly under the radar at World Cup

Ireland captain Liam Finn says his team remain happy to fly under the radar despite making the best possible start to their World Cup campaign.

The Wolfhounds were the only victorious home nation in the opening round of fixtures, thanks to an impressive 36-12 win over a fancied Italy in Cairns.

"We've been telling the Australian press for the last two weeks that we've got a good team but nobody seemed to be listening and we don't really care," Finn said. "They can listen now if they want to - it's up to them."

St Helens forwards Kyle Amor and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook were among the tryscorers and part of a powerful Irish forward display at Barlow Park and Finn expects them to meet an even bigger physical challenge against Papua New Guinea, their next opponents in Port Moresby next Sunday.

The Kumuls are favourites to top group C, particularly after demolishing John Kear's Wales 50-6 in their opening game, but Finn is confident his forwards can win the crucial battle up front.

"I've not seen them back down yet," he said. "They didn't back down the other day when we faced Tonga in training. They certainly didn't back down against Italy.

"There's three or four lads in this team who really don't care who's who - they're not bothered who they're playing against or what their name is. I don't even think they'd heard of James Tedesco half of them, and they're weren't bothered about that.

"PNG played exactly how you'd expect, there was no real surprises. They've got a style of play that's pretty straight forward, route one. If you don't deal with it you end up getting beat heavily.

"It was a young, inexperienced Wales side and I feel a bit for John with the amount of players unavailable to him. I don't want to sound critical of the players that played, but it's a very high level for them to stand up and match it.

"We've been excited about (the) game in Port Moresby for the whole trip but it's even more exciting now we've got the win under our belts. Next week is important. If we can go there and knock them off, then we're in a good position to get through our group."

A win in Port Moresby would create the possibility of a quarter-final clash with England in Melbourne but Finn is steadfastly refusing to look too far ahead.

"It's all about PNG now," he said. "And even if we go there and do a job, I'm sure Wales will fancy having a crack at us.

"It'll be a bit more familiar for them after they've played two big sides. We've got a lot of work to do before we dare to dream of going to Melbourne."

PA Media

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