Saturday 20 January 2018

Positive vibes from players

HOW powerful is positive thinking? We should find out this weekend when Ireland run out to take on Tri-Nations champions Australia, who are ranked six places above the eighth-placed Irish in the IRB world rankings.

Despite the uncertain opening win against the lowly Americans, the mood around the Irish team hotel in Auckland yesterday was unfailingly upbeat.

"I don't think it's anything that daunts the team," said Gordon D'Arcy about the Wallabies clash.

"It's the challenge that we want," said Stephen Ferris. "Samoa showed that they are very beatable. That gives us confidence that we can put a few tries on them."

"We have to go up two gears," said Denis Leamy, "but it's there for us. There were a lot of positives from the USA game. We have all been involved with teams who haven't been going well and then pull out a big performance."

Jamie Heaslip was also in bullish mood. "I have complete and utter faith in all the players -- players that have won a lot. We are more than capable of winning the competition and winning this game," he said.

Fighting talk, but talk is all it is until the action gets under way, something Heaslip acknowledged. "We are in a good mindset for the weekend... we have to be or we will get our asses kicked."


World Cup TV coverage

In general, while the World Cup panel discussions are pretty decent (Justin Marshall, Stuart Barnes and Taine Randall standing out), the live coverage, particularly for the lesser games, is below par.

Unless it involves the All Blacks or one of their major threats, the TV boys do not seem too concerned. This was forcibly demonstrated by the Scotland-Romania match where the cameras failed to use the replay to show that Scotland's critical try came via a forward pass.

Nor did they make any mention of Romanian winger Stefan Ciuntu's role in the Scottish victory by turning over the ball when Romania were 24-21 ahead and deep in Scottish territory -- Ciuntu was only in the side because of Catalin Fercu's fear of flying.


"I've spoken to each of the three ministers. They've assured me that they didn't use abusive language or swearing." -- New Zealand Prime Minister John Key reacts to reports that a government minster was overheard screaming "f****** cheats" at the Wallabies in a corporate box during the win over Italy.

"It comes with the players taking that responsibility upon themselves not to flop." -- No, not a comment on Ireland's World Cup history but Wallabies second-row Dan Vickerman discussing the need to stay on your feet at the breakdown.

Number of the Day

1 Ireland victories in their last eight meetings with the Wallabies.

tomorrow's action

Pool C: Russia v USA,

Live, UTV, Setanta Ireland, 8.30am

Irish Independent

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