Ireland captain Rhys Ruddock said they have prepared for their clash with the USA tomorrow the exact way they would against any of the tier-one nations, writes John Fallon in New Jersey.
Ireland, even so understrength with 11 away on Lions duty and several more injured, are expected to extend their winning run against the Eagles to nine games when they clash at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
The team enjoyed warm sunshine as they went through their captain’s run at the venue, 12 kilometres west of Manhattan.
The venue at Harrison, which has a capacity of just over 25,000, is expected to be close to full tomorrow. The stadium, which is home to the New York Red Bulls Major League Soccer club, opened in 2010.
That’s the year that Ruddock was plucked from an Ireland U-20 side at the Junior World Cup in Argentina to make his full debut in New Zealand against the Maori.
Since then he has only chalked up 13 caps but tomorrow will lead the side out for the first time and he is confident they are in a good position to deliver a quality performance after a good build-up.
"Nothing has changed, no matter where we’re playing or who we’re playing against," said the 29-year old.
"The fact that we're in a different country, we've managed to prepare in the same way.
"Our week has been pretty much the same despite the travel. We've had a really good week of training. The intensity had to be high to get used to the conditions and make sure that we know what to expect.
"We know what to expect. We know what it's going to be like playing in these conditions. We know the intensity that they're going to bring."
With five players set to make their debut tomorrow evening and another eleven having less than 10 caps each, Ruddock and a few more have fulfilled the leadership duties.
"First and foremost, my focus has been on delivering what’s expected in terms of the actions and what’s expected, how you train, how you recover, and all that sort of stuff," he added.
"I’m just trying to set the example there.
"If there’s ever a time where any of the more experienced guys like myself or guys who have been in the environment a little bit more can offer words of advice or bring people along with you, that’s been done.
"There’s lot of leaders within the group who have stepped up and done that job throughout the last two weeks leading into the game now."