When you put in the type of performance David Pocock delivered against Ireland last weekend, it becomes a little difficult to comprehend the Australian back-rower believed taking his one-year sabbatical from the game was something of a career risk.
This group of Irish players has made a habit of rewriting history over the course of the last few seasons, whether it has been beating New Zealand for the first time or recording a rare Grand Slam as they did in Twickenham back in March.
Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony has backed fly-half Joey Carbery to take the huge opportunity handed to the 22-year-old when he starts the first Test against Australia on Saturday morning.
Eddie Jones was the one Australian everyone wanted to hear from after Ireland dispensed with his England side so seamlessly at Twickenham last week, but it would have been interesting to mine the thoughts of his compatriot Michael Cheika, who was among the 82,062 souls looking on from the stands, writes
Australia yesterday lost Michael Hooper, one of their two star opensides, for Saturday’s Pool A encounter with Wales in London, but blindside flanker Scott Fardy doesn’t give the impression of a guy who will lose sleep over the news.
AFTER 46 games and a weekend of semi-final action characterised by controversy, drama, incident and passion, the 2011 version of the World Cup has produced a carbon copy of what transpired here at the inaugural event 24 years ago — a final contested by New Zealand and France with Australia and Wales battling for the bronze medal.