Rugby World Cup 2011

Tough road ahead for Irish

2011-09-12 15:15
Brian O'Driscoll (Getty Images)

New Plymouth - Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll left the field with a bitter taste in his mouth Sunday after an unconvincing 22-10 win over the United States in their World Cup opener.

Ahead lay "a huge challenge"; he said if the Irish are to erase the nightmare of the last World Cup in 2007 when they failed to make the play-off stages for the first time.

Also in Pool C are Australia and Italy, with a second half burst carrying the Wallabies to a 32-6 win over the Azzurri earlier in the day.

Against the United States, played against the emotional backdrop of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks Ireland fumbled and bumbled their way through most of the game.

With the tight defence put up by the lowly-ranked Americans, Ireland had an abundance of possession and could only manage three tries - two to Tommy Bowe and one to Rory Best - and gave away an intercept try at the end of the game.

"There were aspects which were disappointing for sure but the most important thing was we broke our losing sequence and we won the game," said O'Driscoll after Ireland lost their four warm up games before the World Cup.

"If we were relying on bonus points to get us through the group stages we're going to be in trouble," he said.

"I think there were some good aspects to it. We took our tries extremely well but when it finishes on an intercept and you don't have a chance for a riposte for that it leaves bitter taste in your mouth."

Part of Ireland's problems lay in the service from rookie halves pairing Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton and they scored two tries in quick succession after the more experienced Eoin Reddan and Ronan O'Gara came on early in the second half.

But O'Driscoll said Ireland's biggest problem was not being clinical enough when required and the speed of their ruck ball left a lot to be desired and "now comes the huge challenge playing Australia."

Ireland's second game is against Australia in Auckland on September 17.


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