Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Schedule is good prep - McNaughton

Paul McNaughton

Ireland manager Paul McNaughton believes a gruelling autumn has offered an insight into the demands of the World Cup.

Ireland traditionally only play three matches in the autumn but McNaughton insists the high rate of attrition has proved perfect preparation for the World Cup in New Zealand next year.

"This has been a tough autumn because it's the first time we've had four games," he said. "The four games were put together to have the extra match against South Africa to mark the opening of the Aviva Stadium."

Ireland limp into their final match of the November internationals against Argentina on Sunday having to nurse a lengthy injury list.

Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Stephen Ferris, David Wallace and Tommy Bowe are carrying knocks from Saturday's 38-18 defeat to New Zealand, but are expected to be fit to face the Pumas.

"I don't think the long-term plan is to have four games in November, or if there is a fourth game it will be an 'A' match against a tier-two nation," he added,

"We haven't had time to analyse whether we should play four games again. It's been a long five weeks with four matches against very physical opposition.

"South Africa, Samoa, New Zealand and Argentina, they don't come more physical than that.

"We'll be doing something similar in the World Cup. We'll have a squad of 30 and we won't be able to call in guys willy nilly to help us out.

"We'll have to deal with five or six injuries if we get them without calling in reinforcements, so in terms of preparing for the World Cup next year the autumn has been very helpful."

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