Wednesday 24 January 2018

Three-game series to return

Hugh Farrelly

IRELAND are looking to return to a three-game November Series after the injury and financial difficulties of this year's four-game campaign.

After bruising encounters against South Africa, Samoa and New Zealand, Ireland have a spate of injury issues to deal with heading into Sunday's clash with Argentina, while the IRFU have struggled to sell tickets for the Lansdowne Road internationals.

Yesterday, Ireland manager Paul McNaughton conceded that the opening match against the Springboks, which fell outside the IRB's international window, was arranged for commercial reasons and a return to a three-game series was likely, but he believes this month was good preparation for next year's World Cup.

"The four games this year were put together primarily to have the South African game as an extra match to open the stadium against the world champions," said McNaughton.

"I don't think the long-term plan is to have four games in November. If there are going to be four games in November then one of them may be an 'A' match against a tier-two country or something like that. We haven't really had time to sit down yet and analyse whether we will do it again or not.

"We will do that after this series but it is a long five weeks and four matches on the trot against very physical opposition -- South Africa, Samoa, New Zealand and Argentina -- they don't come more physical than that. But we will be doing that in the World Cup."

Irish Independent

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