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O'Callaghan: Ireland still haunted

Donncha O'Callaghan admits Ireland's psyche continues to be haunted by their World Cup disaster of four years ago.

Memories of 2007, when the team failed to progress from a challenging pool, still trouble some members of a squad that O'Callaghan concedes has failed to fulfil its potential.

"You don't want to get to the biggest competition of your life and fall flat on your face," he said. "The scars of France have stayed with us all. It was a scarring event in our careers."

He added: "It was hugely disappointing because you arrive with such promise and all the dreams of doing well. So to come up short....there's no worse feeling.

"It took me a lot of time to get over that and some of us still haven't.

"A lot of us pretend 2007 was a leap year, that nothing actually happened during that year!

"We might as well have taken a year out given the way we played. We have a good squad with good players but we haven't done ourselves justice.

"This is the big show, there is nothing bigger than a World Cup. This is the one we've been dreaming of since we were kids.

"There are times in your career when you have to front up. We managed that in the Grand Slam game against Wales in 2009.

"Before people thought Irish teams choke at big events, but beating Wales was the result that over-turned that perception. Big games can be the highlight of your career, or the most scarring event."

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