Sean O’Brien believes Ireland go into their World Cup Pool D opener with Canada tomorrow in a good place and driven on by the bitter experience of their quarter-final exit four years ago.
Back-row O’Brien, 27, is one of 13 survivors from the match day 23 which suffered at the hands of Wales in Wellington at the 2011 World Cup.
“The lads that were there four years ago will know the disappointment we had at the end of it, we’ll bank that and make sure we don’t have the same feeling this time round,” O’Brien said, ahead of tomorrow’s Millennium Stadium clash with the Canadians.
“It’s probably a little bit different in terms of our preparation and stuff from four years ago as in we are game to game, day to day and we have Canada in front of us now and it’s going to be a tough game.
“We are in a good place. I think we have trained really well the last week. We have learned a lot from certain (warm-up) games, played well at times during them. It’s just about getting a bit of consistency now, rolling up the sleeves and getting stuck in to the tournament.
“Once selection was finished there was a sense of excitement and relief that lads were picked and selected, you could relax that little bit for the week and look forward to going in and training hard and getting over here.”
O’Brien struck a tone of quiet confidence as he looked forward to the prospect of continuing his back-row partnership with Peter O’Mahony and Jamie Heaslip.
“We’re getting a bit of consistency in the back row. We’ve played together lots of times. We know what we’re all about and we each bring something to the game. We’ll all try to add to the team environment and try to do our jobs as well as being a collective unit on the field.
“I think we’ve a lot more to offer, in terms of what we’ve seen over the last month or two and that’s the exciting thing for me anyway — knowing we’ve so much more in us.”
But O’Brien warned not to take tier-two opponents such as Canada lightly.
“You can never write anyone off when they’re going to a World Cup. Teams are going to bring their best game at some point during the tournament and you always have to be aware of that. I think if you take your eye off the ball you might get bitten.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved