Rugby World Cup Permutations: Ireland

We continue our series of articles looking at potential routes through the Rugby World Cup with Ireland.

Ireland Rugby

It’s fair to say that Ireland has underachieved at the Rugby World Cup, and they’ll be keen to banish memories of 2007 when they failed to emerge from a group that also contained France and Argentina, despite high expectations before the tournament.

Ireland’s Rugby World Cup Fixtures
Sunday 11th September, Ireland v USA, New Plymouth
Saturday 17th September, Australia v Ireland, Auckland
Sunday 25th September, Ireland v Russia, Rotorua
Sunday 2nd October, Ireland v Italy, Dunedin


Whilst Italy could be a potential banana skin – particularly after their Six Nations campaign where they pushed Ireland all the way and then beat France – but all the focus in this group is on one match: Australia v Ireland on 17th September.

It’s huge, and the result is likely to determine how far each team progresses in this tournament. The winner of this pool, Pool C, will face the runner-up in Pool D in the quarter-finals, which is likely to be Wales, Fiji or Samoa – or South Africa if there’s an upset there – none of which would hold too much fear (but that’s not to say it would be an easy game). A win in the quarter-finals would take them to a likely semi against France or England, and again, Ireland has the beating of both of those sides. Could they make the final and beat the All Blacks (assuming they make it) for the first time ever and take home the Webb Ellis Cup?

Let’s not get carried away yet, since the runner-up in the pool would probably have to take on the World Champion Springboks, who would pose a much stiffer test. Ireland’s record against the Boks isn’t too good, but if they did conjure up a win, the All Blacks would probably await in the semi-finals and it’s difficult to see the Irish coming through two huge games like that, given their record against the Southern Hemisphere teams.

So, did I mention that the Australia v Ireland game in the group was huge? Declan Kidney’s side have a huge chance to put together their best Rugby World Cup campaign, but in my view, it all hinges on this match, so get behind them on the 17th and cheer them on to pool victory.


How far do you think Ireland will get in this year’s Rugby World Cup? Take the poll below and justify your selection in the comments below:

How far will Ireland get in the Rugby World Cup 2011?

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15 thoughts on “Rugby World Cup Permutations: Ireland

  1. Pretty accurate assessment above. Anything less than a semi-final will be viewed as another World Cup failure and that means beating Australia and Italy. Young talent needs to be given it’s chance and in-form Leinster players will have to be given the nod over old Kidney favourites. My worry is Declan is showing signs akin to “Steady Eddie”. At least we’ve avoided Argentina in the Group stages, which makes a nice change, and Australia are beatable as they should have been in 2003. Tough one to predict.

  2. Beating Australia is more than achievable for Ireland and if they do that they can easily make their way to the semifinal. The only problem is that I really rate the Wallabies going into the tournament and can’t see it happening. That means a quarterfinal with (most likely) South Africa and, as the article says, their record isn’t great against them.

    I’m all for seeing the Irish do well this time around – their record in the tournament does not reflect the standard of the side at all – but I think they may fall once more.

  3. If Ireland play to their full potential thay can beat the Aussies. It all depends which Ireland turns up. For some reason they lack cofidence playing the big three and France in France.
    Kidney is the right coach for mind games, so up to the players now to trust their skill level and reach the final. It can be done. Then the All Blacks !!!

  4. I’m worried that we’ll beat Australia and then slip up to one of the others….thing with Australia is this – bad forwards (obviously Pocock’s exceptional, and Rocky if he’s fit), but stunning backs. Irish forwards are looking very good, but the backs are very dodgy. Yes, O’Driscoll’s great, but Darcy’s going to start every game he’s fit and he hasn’t played well in about 3 years. We don’t have a full-back, and scrum-half’s another nightmare. Genia and Cooper have been cutting through Super Rugby opposition like butter, and while they may not be as strong in defense, they tend to put away enough tries to deal with most teams. The Aussies are a bit like Ireland – on their day an incredible team, but prone to weakness. Topping the group gives a northern hemisphere route to the final, which would be great, but it’s been a long time since Ireland put three good performances running together.

  5. Its all about wheather they can repeat the level of performance shown against England in the 6nations. If they do then of course Australia are there for the taking. Problem is the failure of 4 years ago and in recent times incoherant displays against some 6nations teams and autumn test opposition leave linguring doubts about Irelands mental strength. Its bizarre why the Ireland team dont produce as often as they should especially when you consider the outstanding consistency shown by Leinster this season. The Ozzy game is the cornerstone of Irelands campaign. Beat Australia and a final berth is a real possibility, fail and a semi is a max. Despite some sloppy performances in recent times there are area’s the Irish have improved on such as a solid defensive line, an improving lineout and a drastically impoved scrum mainly due to Mike Ross. Lets hope he and some of Irelands other key players dont pick up any injuries during the pre-wc tests.

  6. Darcy might be injured that has improved irelands chances a lot in my opinion he has been a dead wait for a while home mc fadden nails down the spot such a treat with his speed and power and a great distributor off loader and tackler what more do u want from a 12?? wouldn’t mind bowe playin 12 either !

  7. At the moment , I would have Felix Jones at fullback, Trimble at 14, Bowe at 13, O’Driscoll at 12 and McFadden at No. 11. What do ye think lads ? !

  8. tom would have kearny 15 especially after his strong showing today thought mc fadden did very well in the center him and brian why move bowe from his best position ?

  9. It’s more of a think about who to leave out. I’m sorry for D’arcy, Paddy Wallace and Trimble; none of these backs plays to WC standard and shouldn’t be considered further; Wallace because he was clearly out of his depth yesterday against Scotland, and Trimble because on several occasions yesterday he ran crabwise across the pitch from perfectly good positions and then threw a pass at anyone, usually a forward, who promptly knocked on!
    Ireland does not have powerful heavy (17 stone) backs that can punch holes in the opposition wall, so we will have to go for our fleet of foot elusive runners that have good hands and are excellent rugby footballers. Fortunately there is a good number of these experienced players in the Provinces. Declan already has most of them in the squad, and no doubt will bring them in during the next few warm up games to see who has the necessary abilities to carry Ireland through to the later rounds of the WC.

    Munster showed the way to beat Australia last season, and hopefully Ireland can again emulate them, and come up with another England beating performance. To do this the forwards also have to be on top form, with each one playing the part of addtional backs when needed. Yesterday penalties were once again given away needlessly – the art of playing the ref has to be drilled AB fashion into all the players, especially the front five(s). There should be no sloppy scrums or lineouts (lets hope Gerry Flannery remains available to take line out throws). Yesterday Buckley was much better than I’ve ever seen when wearing the green, and easily held his side of the scrum. He should be given another chance to show that he’s up for tighthead, as he’s needed along with Mike Ross. I’m afraid yesterday showed Tom Court is not a loosehead prop, but has previously shown to be capable tighthead – why not try him there again, if Buckley doesn’t find favour?Or bring another of the younger tightheads longing for a chance?
    So the permutations continue, and it’s good that Declan has a few more matches to steady his plans on the WC Thirty. We all have ideas about what he should do, and we should really be letting him to get on with the job.

  10. Hope Declan has Brett Wilkinson on his team for the return match against France on Saturday. He can play either tight or loose and wouldn’t it be great if he showed his class against the French. We sure could do with someone like him. Would like to see the following play together a few times :
    A. Trimble T. Bowe B. O’Driscoll F.Mcfaden
    C.Murray. R. O’Gara
    C.Healy J. Flannery M. Ross
    P’OConnell D’OCallaghan
    S.Ferris J. Heaslip S. O’Brien

    Reserves : R.Kearney. I.Boss. J.Sexton. S.Cronin. B.Wilkinson. D.Wallace. L.Cullen.

  11. tom my one question is why move bowe from the position he is world class at have mc fadden play out of position??? just seems crazy to me and think sexton has proven he is no. one think ferris might not make it to world cup hope he does but what form will he be in is the question! finally ur bench kearny isn’t the most versatile replacement would be earls for me can cover centre wing and kinda full back

  12. Interesting comments Rick ! First of all, I think that O’Driscoll, brillant and all though he still is, hasn’t quite got that same all round cutting edge he once had and that someone like Bowe would be ideal for the position. O’Driscoll is, right now, tailor-made for the No. 12 jersey I feel and, in addition, I think that a player of Bowe’s ability and versatility would make hay if afforded the opportunity to handle the ball much more often. Indeed, he is a great winger but think of the potential potency of O’Driscoll and Bowe operating side by side in these positions ! Trimble, on his present form, is more than an able deputy at No.14. Perhaps, I’m talking through my proverbial hat Nick but sure aren’t we all enjoying this exchange immensely. Come on Ireland !!!

  13. Riddle me this somebody … should Mike Ross become unavailable to play, for any reason, at the World Cup, who is going to replace him ? With all the planning and hard work that has, undoubtedly, gone into preparing this Ireland squad is it not well -nigh incredible to think that we do not, as I write, have a credible alternative to him. John Hayes ( who has served us so well in the past) ? Tony Buckley ? Spare me do !! Whatever chance we have of doing well at this World Cup with a fit Mike Ross, it is just ‘whistling in the dark’ to assume that we will even make it out of our group without his presence. Yes ! That’s how important that man is to our squad if we are to make realistic progress and shame on the powers that be who have allowed this to happen.

  14. tom ur right theirs the ulster prop and hagan who are better than buckley hayes and court in my opinion! but kidney seems stuck in his ways abit like o’sullivan why bring leamy! he’s not first choice for munster! hows jennings behind mc loughlin in the pecking order! and paddy wallace as cover for 12! mc fadden is more versatile i’d have johnny murphy before paddy! but look at darren cave or spencer could do a better job especially spencer. how can i put in my cv for after the world cup?????

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