Friday 24 November 2017

I fear no one, insists O'Brien

SEAN O'Brien reckons he could be Ireland's secret weapon at the World Cup in September, WRITES RUAIDHRI O'CONNOR.

The Tullow tyro will go to the tournament as European Player of the Year but he is hoping to spring a surprise against Australia in New Zealand. The 24-year-old wants to return from the tournament as one of world rugby's big names.

"That's what you want to do," he said. "Over there I suppose they don't know much about me. Hopefully they will by the end of it.

"It'll be good to really test myself against the best players in the world. Hopefully I'll be well able for it. It's a different pace, a different level again. It's a new challenge. It's one of the biggest sporting events in the world so playing and being part of it will be great.

"I'm right where I want to be at the minute, but we're going into a massive tournament now and it's the only way to set yourself up and test yourself against the best players in the world.

"I certainly won't be going over there fearing anyone. There's a big determination in the squad to really go and do a job over there."

O'Brien doesn't care what number he has on his back this September, he just wants a starting berth when Ireland take on the USA on September 11.

Stephen Ferris is working hard to get back to full fitness ahead of the trip to New Zealand and along with Jamie Heaslip and David Wallace it appears four into three won't go.

On his Leinster form O'Brien would appear undroppable, but his rivals all have similarly strong reputations and as a result there will be a scrap for a starting berth.

"I'll play anywhere," O'Brien said. "I can cover all three so I wouldn't rule out any positions. They'll keep mixing and matching in training, but it doesn't really bother me where I am.

"No-one's place is safe in there -- the coaches have said that from the start. So as long as I'm looking after my own stuff, that's all I can do and see what happens after that."

Irish Independent

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