Sport Rugby

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Emotional first day for Eddie's Eagles


Hours before running out to face Ireland in their World Cup opener at Taranaki Stadium, the USA squad will attend an emotional church service in New Plymouth to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Given the time difference in New Zealand, it will be one of the first commemorative services to be held in the world, taking place at 10.0am local time in St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, with the Pool C showdown due to commence at 6.0.

David Huebner, the US ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, and an as-yet unnamed honorary guest, are due to speak at the service and there will be performances from the US Marine Corps band, with New Plymouth firefighters carrying the US and New Zealand flags into the church.

There will also be a minute's silence before kick-off, but US coach Eddie O'Sullivan is not worried about the emotions of the day getting to the players.

"My job is to contain the emotion," said O'Sullivan. "If they get too emotional, they'll make mistakes and if they make mistakes they'll pay a big price.

"Motivation isn't going to be an issue for these lads, they're always easy to fire up."

Vowels -- Kiwis have a bizarre relationship with their vowels, particularly when it comes to swapping the 'e' and 'i' sounds. Some find this butchering of the English language to be 'erretating', others find it merely 'ixasperating'.


"There's about 25 of them coming over from the club, it should be fairly lively."

-- Sean O'Brien gets ready for the Tullow invasion of New Zealand.

"In rugby, you lose teeth. In diplomacy, you lose face. Scrums confuse anyone who doesn't know the game, including myself -- so do UN debates and they can look very similar" -- United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon ovals up ahead of his visit to the World Cup.

Number of the day

5 The number of All Blacks coaching other countries at the World Cup -- Robbie Deans (Australia), Warren Gatland (Wales), Isitolo Maka (Tonga), John Kirwan (Japan) and Kieran Crowley (Canada)

tomorrow's action

pool A

New Zealand v Tonga,

Live, Setanta Ireland, RTE2, ITV1, 9.30

Irish Independent

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