Friday, September 16, 2011

D’Arcy and O’Driscoll set new midfield benchmark

Irish pair Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll will play in their 45th test match together against the Wallabies, overtaking the previous mark set over a decade ago.

The Leinster players will overtake Jeremy Guscott and Will Carling, and will be a key part of Ireland’s attempt to stun the Wallabies and ensure that they take Pool C honours.

It is essentially the flagship clash of the group, and the winner will face the runners up of Pool D, which based on world standings would be Wales.

The loser of the test will likely play the defending champions in the quarter finals.

But instead of focusing on their own record, O’Driscoll preferred to talk up his opponents, although he felt Ireland was capable of shutting them down.

"They are often innovators when it comes to back-end play and they are forward thinkers in that regard," he said.

"You do see other countries trying to copy some of the things they do but, at the same time, we feel as though we have the capability of shutting them down if we defend accordingly.

"The game today is all about the speed of your ruck ball and not allowing them the chance to realign and reset.

"It is a very good team and any team that wins the Tri Nations has to be reckoned with."

O’Driscoll felt that a large Irish crowd would be on hand to support the underdogs, while coach Declan Kidney said that it wasn’t challenging to prepare for such a match.

"When you are playing the Tri Nations champions, those are the games you are looking forward to, that is easy to get yourself up for," he said.

"The trick is not to get yourself too anxious about it and just go out and play your normal game and that is what we have been working hard at doing.

"We have to lift our game even more and finish off the chances."

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