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Dirty tricks rattle Drico

By Gavin Mairs

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll last night accused the French media of conducting a dirty tricks campaign against his side ahead of tonight's do-or-die World Cup showdown against the host nation in Paris.

Allegations about Ireland out-half Ronan O'Gara's personal life and a character assignation piece about Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan, both carried in the French sports newspaper L'Equipe, have angered the Irish camp.

And O'Driscoll warned France that the attacks would only provide extra motivation for his side, who must at least take a bonus point out of the game to keep realistic hopes alive of reaching the quarter-finals.

"We're a very tight-knit group," said O'Driscoll. "We've all been together for the best part of three or four years, give or take one or two people.

"We've developed very strong friendships and when you see a slur on someone's personality and private life, not on their sporting ability, you take it personally yourself.

"You wouldn't wish that on anyone, least of all someone on your own team. So we'll put it in the pot. We don't forget easily. It'll be used as extra motivation.

"The team will give the person in question the extra help he needs, even though he's one of the strongest people I know.

"If you're a cynic you could say the story was an attempt to knock things up in the days building up to the game - to throw a few sparks around the camp and unsettle us a little bit.

"But we're a bigger team than that. We're not going to let something so stupid and so unfounded shake us. It will galvanise us more than anything."

Belfast Telegraph


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