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In seven World Cup campaigns, Ireland have exited the competition at the quarter-final stage six times, the one blip coming in 2007 when they failed to escape their pool.
And while this form shows some consistency, it does little to placate the desires of a rugby mad nation.
Ireland’s path to the 2015 World Cup is already mapped out with two games against Wales as well as clashes with Scotland and England pencilled in before they begin their campaign for real against Canada on September 19 at the Millennium Stadium.
And O’Brien – who features in Ireland’s 2011 World Cup campaign – knows just how important these pre-cursors will be ahead of the action kicking off for real.
“It’s kind of a bit nervous because you know you’re going into such a big occasion and it’s such an exciting time for us as players,” said O’Brien. “I think it’s perfect playing four warm-ups because we’ve such a big squad as well. You can rotate players, you might play two each - I’m not sure what his [head coach Joe Schmidt’s] thinking behind that is but certainly with our squad he’s definitely going to try players and make sure we’re match fit going into the tournament. There’s no friendly games in international rugby.
“It’s going to be a massive game over there – two against England, one against Wales and one against Scotland, four great Tests before the tournament and that will show us where we are as group.”
“I’m looking forward to a good pre-season this year, I haven’t had one for three years,” said O’Brien. “Pre- seasons are massive, they stop you getting injured for the rest of the year. It’s the first year I’m fresh and ready to go. It’s a big seven or eight weeks to rock into games, hopefully, and hit the ground running.”
Flanker O’Brien can’t wait to get Ireland’s warm up games underway.
Sean O Brien was speaking at the launch of the IRFU Canterbury RWC Jersey. Life Style Sports is supporting the supporters ahead of the RWC by reducing prices from the RRP. Click here to pre- order Ireland’s brand new Home & Alternative Pro Jersey from €69 and the Home & Alternative RWC Pro Jersey from €80.Back to Blog