Monday 23 October 2017

It's victory or bust in crucial Italy showdown -- Heaslip

Hugh Farrelly

A THIRD win on the trot for the Irish to leave them sitting on top of Pool C and yet they could still be going home next Monday if they lose to Italy in Dunedin.

Ireland are on 13 points and, assuming the Italians pick up five points against the Americans tomorrow to leave them sitting on 10, there are various scenarios where Ireland could still go through without winning. However, No 8 Jamie Heaslip does not want to know -- it's victory or bust.

"You can work out permutations and all that sort of thing but look, it would make life a whole lot easier if we go out there with the intention of winning," said Heaslip.

"There's no point in thinking we can draw, or lose with a bonus point, or any of that crap. Just go out and win it. They're a tough team. They're going to stick it to us at scrums and line-outs and all around the field, so we're going to have our work cut out for us."

Heaslip was a prominent figure in Ireland's 62-12 victory over Russia and believes the victory maintains the momentum built up since beating Australia.

"The nature of this competition is that you play your game, get your win or whatever and then move on to your next game as quick as you can," said Heaslip. "It's so intense. It's not like the Six Nations, where you have two games and then a week off. It's just bang, bang, bang.


"But I think what we got from today was great. A lot of guys got a good run-out, I was happy to get another 80 minutes under my belt, get some ball time. In the last two games I had to do a lot of grunt work, that happens and you've just got to get with it and go with it.

"It was really nice to get running on to the ball, running lines, getting offloads, offloading myself. Sean (O'Brien) ran well as well, Donnacha (Ryan) ran well at six and second-row and all our subs who came on made impacts."

Defence coach Les Kiss was pleased with the win but annoyed by the two Russian tries in the second-half which he believes could have been avoided.

"The main thing was to get the win and get the bonus point," said Kiss. "We got that and some good discipline in the first half overall. You have to give credit to Russia, they kept coming and chanced their own arm a couple of times and got some results, so good for them.

"We could have handled both (Russian) tries better but they finished them well too."

Russia's Australian, former Leinster, second-row Adam Byrnes believes Ireland can go a long way in the competition. "Australia was an unbelievable victory," said Byrnes. "They've proven that they can do anything. It's just the consistency (they need) when it comes to the quarter-finals and maybe the semi-finals and final."

Irish Independent

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