Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Rugby World Cup: O’Driscoll tells rookies to show worth

Brian O'Driscoll has urged Ireland's fringe players to prove they are worthy of their place in the World Cup squad.

Luke Fitzgerald and Tomas O'Leary were the two big-name casualties when coach Declan Kidney named his 30-man panel for New Zealand yesterday.

Scrum-half Conor Murray and wing/centre Fergus McFadden, both rookies, are two of the players who are initially expected to offer cover but could force their way into the Test team.

"It's very disappointing for Luke and for a number of other guys who would love to have been involved, but it shows the strength and the quality of our squad," said O’Driscoll.

"The people who have been included will be delighted and now for them it's about pushing for a first XV place. That's the mentality we need to have at the World Cup to make it a success."

O'Driscoll marvels at the conditioning of Leinster team-mate McFadden and insists he will be keen to challenge Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls for one of the wing spots.

"Fergus brings great energy," said O'Driscoll.

"He's a strange one in that he can take four weeks off training but blow everyone away in pre-season when he comes back.

"He won't be happy with just making the squad. He's delighted to be involved but he'll want to start. The work has just begun for him."

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