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We have learned lessons - Leamy

Munster number eight Denis Leamy insists there is little danger of Ireland repeating the failings of 2007 by being undercooked for the World Cup.

Four years ago the first-choice 22 were wrapped in cotton wool, with senior players left at home for the summer tour to Argentina and used sparingly in the two warm-up games. What followed was a dire performance in France, with a team that had self-proclaimed ambitions of winning the World Cup unable to progress beyond the group stage.

"We prepared really well in 2007," he said. "We had a great pre-season and were in really great shape. We just weren't battle-hardened enough in terms of matches."

He added: "Before I'd played my first game in 2007, I'd been on the pitch for possibly 30 minutes.

"With the number of warm-up games we have, lads could have possibly three to four matches played this time.

"For me the big difference this year is that when the first ball is kicked against the USA, the boys will be battle-hardened and up to speed in match fitness.

"The pre-season training has been difficult, but getting match fit is completely different to anything else.

"We probably didn't play too many warm-up games in 2007 out of concern for injury.

"Geordan Murphy didn't make the 2003 World Cup because of an injury and it's a difficult balance to strike. Injury is a risk."


From Belfast Telegraph