Tough Task Awaits Cup Dark Horses Ireland

The Journal (Newcastle, England), October 9, 2003 | Go to article overview

Tough Task Awaits Cup Dark Horses Ireland


Almost exactly two years ago, as England continued on their Grand Slam bottling phase, Clive Woodward took his team to Lansdowne Road for the delayed Six Nations finale and lost.

Time - and England - have moved on since then and revenge was exacted in the most destructive manner imaginable in March when England returned to Dublin and dished out a 42-6 hiding.

The true gap between the teams is somewhere in the middle of those results but it is the first one which will sustain Ireland's belief if, as is certainly possible, the two sides find themselves facing each other at Telstra Stadium next month.

Somehow, probably because the Provinces have been so successful in the Heineken Cup, Ireland seem to have found a vehicle which has seen them take the game forward far faster than any of their Six Nations rivals with the notable exception of cash-rich England.

It means that Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan arrived in Australia with a team hungry for success.

In fact, their only worries stem from failing to reach the quarter-finals four years ago.

For, it is the costly play-off loss to Argentina in Lens which turned them into non-seeds for this event and saw them pitched into a group which includes the hosts and the team which beat them last time. …

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