Ireland World Cup draw 'could be worse'
The draw for the 2015 Rugby World Cup has pitted Ireland against France and Italy, with captain Brian O'Driscoll saying it "could have been worse".
Monday, 03 December 2012
Ireland are currently ranked sixth in the world, but have never beaten Les Bleus in the World Cup - and have in fact only won one of their last 13 encounters.
"You're never going to lick your lips at a World Cup draw because you'll always have good quality opposition," O'Driscoll said.
"It's a bit of a double-edged sword because when you avoid New Zealand, South Africa or Australia, inevitably when you get to the knockout stages, you're likely to face one of them sooner rather than later."
Joining Ireland, France and Italy in Pool D will be either the USA or Canada, plus another European side yet to be determined.
It's an okay draw, but I'd imagine France and Italy are quietly happy they've drawn us. They'll think they can beat us.
But O'Driscoll will be 36 when the 2015 tournament, which is to be held in England rolls around and he thinks it's unlikely he'll be involved.
"I'll be there in some capacity, but as a player I doubt that very much. It's far too far away to be contemplating playing," he said.
"I think my World Cup ship has sailed, but I'll be there as Ireland's number one supporter."
Ireland coach Declan Kidney said at least there would be few surprises in his side's group.
"We've been drawn in a group where everybody knows one another," he said.
"We're obviously playing each other in the Six Nations three times before then. We also have a tour to the Americas in June when we'll be playing Canada twice and America once.
"And then we have World Cup history with Russia and Georgia ..."
And of rivals France, Kidney added: "We played France a couple of times in the World Cup and came second by a bit.
"They've always shown themselves to be an extremely good side who peak for that competition.
"I'm sure they'd like nothing better than to win the World Cup in England. We know we have a huge task ahead of us."