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This Irish team won't make mistakes of 2011

After back-to-back Six Nations titles it's easy to get caught up in the hype but Ireland are in a fantastic position going into a World Cup across the pond.

In fairness they did look to be in a great place heading to France in 2007 but we all know what happened there.

Players were over-trained, things happened and mistakes were made - but that won't happen again.

This is a different machine; even in 2011 Ireland had a fantastic team but this time around I feel they have all the ingredients to put their best foot forward.

Joe Schmidt is a serious coach, as we all know at this stage, one of the best in the business, and he learns from his lessons. He treats his staff in a revolutionary way which builds trust within the group and gives the playing staff a great responsibility.

Then you have leaders all over the place in that squad - Paul O'Connell is a brilliant captain but he's not the only one. Rory Best, Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney all have serious leadership qualities and it makes for exciting times.

Irish Independent