Rugby World Cup 2011
Tough road ahead for Irish
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
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
Ireland's second game is against Australia
in Auckland on September 17.