Ireland will miss Paul O’Connell’s off-the-cuff stand-up comedy just as much as his originality in pre-match war cries, according to Robbie Henshaw.
O’Connell’s World Cup and Test career both came to a close on Tuesday when Ireland confirmed their captain must undergo surgery on a torn hamstring.
Connacht centre Henshaw explained how O’Connell could step straight from a tear-jerking team talk to a sharp-witted quip.
“The first time I met Paulie he was so welcoming to me as one of the youngest players in the squad,” said the 22-year-old Henshaw.
“He always took me under his wing, always helped me around the place.
“He always gave me that bit of advice but he wasn’t too intense either, he could always switch off and crack a few jokes as well. He’d have a bit of craic with you around the dinner table.
“I’d always loved and admired that side to him, that he wasn’t all intense, all work, but he was good craic off the pitch as well.”
Citing no worries for Hines
Scotland assistant coach Nathan Hines insists he has no problem with World Rugby selecting an Australian citing commissioner to run the rule over his players just days before they face the Wallabies.
Forwards Ross Ford and Jonny Gray could both miss this Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final clash with Australia after being charged with committing a dangerous tackle during last weekend’s final Pool B clash with Samoa. Independent Citing Commissioner Scott Nowland was the man who took the decision to haul the Dark Blues pair before a World Rugby disciplinary hearing in London on Tuesday.
But that raised eyebrows from Scottish supporters, who fear Nowland may be doing his countrymen a favour before the crucial last-eight clash at Twickenham.
Former Scotland scrum-half Andy Nicol tweeted after the citing decision was
announced on Monday, “Love the bit that Gray/Ford cited by ’independent’ citing officer who comes from Australia! Who do we play on sun??”
But asked if he was worried about the part played by the Aussie commissioner, Dark Blues coach Hines – a former Scotland international who was himself born Down Under – said, “It’s not my concern, it’s World Rugby’s. He’s the citing commissioner. He saw something, put his report in, and now we wait and see what happens.
“He is neutral, isn’t he? He’s a professional. They are there to do a job. He thinks he has seen something.
“World Rugby have put him there because they are happy with his neutrality. That’s for them to sort out and not us.”
World Rugby has launched a new app to raise awareness of concussion.
The app, “World Rugby Concussion Management” provides medically-approved information on everything from recognising the symptoms of concussion to return to play through interactive video content.
Japan full-back and Rugby World Cup 2015 star Ayumu Goromaru said, “Concussion education is paramount in a contact sport and it is great to see rugby leading the way.”
The match officials for the World Cup quarter-finals have been announced, and neither of the Irish referees will be on whistle-duty but both will be assisting for games on Saturday.
Jerome Garces will be the referee for Ireland v Argentina, assisted by Romain Poite and Chris Pollock. Wayne Barnes will be in charge of South Africa and Wales, assisted by George Clancy and JP Doyle. Nigel Owens will officiate New Zealand and France, assisted by Jaco Pyper and John Lacey.
The last of the quarter-finals will have Craig Joubert in charge with assistants Glen Jackson and Pascal Gauzere.
Special yogurt delivery
The Irish team received a taste of home in the form of a special delivery from Glenisk. The dairy produce company delivered personalised pots of yogurt to the Irish team in their new base at the Sport Wales National Centre. Cian Healy wasn’t keen on the name on one of the pots judging by this picture he tweeted. It’s safe to assume the team’s massage therapist Willie Bennett is in no danger of his yogurt being stolen (left)...
Stat of the Day
Japan have left their mark on the pool stage, not merely in the match results but also by topping three of the player statistics charts for the tournament. Their full-back Ayumu Goromaru was the early leader for the most penalties scored in the pool stages. Japan’s captain Michael Leitch is top in two of the tables; most tackles made and most carries over the gain line. Ireland’s own Sean O’Brien is second in the latter but with seven fewer carries than Leitch.
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