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Rugby World Cup: New Zealand legend Jonah Lomu backs Ireland to reach final

By Jonathan Bradley

All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu believes Paul O'Connell can be the man to lead Ireland to a World Cup final against his native New Zealand.

At the Olympic Park RWC fanzone, Lomu, who played a starring role as a teenager as the Kiwis reached the final of the 1995 tournament, said: "All the Irish have been waiting for this team to kick into gear, every World Cup.

"They always have high hopes. In 2011, we expected them to kick on after we saw them give Australia that absolute hammering but it wasn't to be.

"The Irish squad is really good. They did a demolition job in their last game and they're building well.

"They've got the good team to do it, especially captain Paul O'Connell in his final year.

"When it comes to doing it, I don't know. This World Cup is so open."

With Italy to come on Sunday, Ireland are today sweating on Rob Kearney's glute injury following a scan yesterday while Tommy Bowe has said he is ready to battle for his place after returning with two tries last weekend.

"I'm having a fight to try and get myself back in the jersey again," Bowe said yesterday.

"Of course I'd love to be number one, going out sure of my place, but the added pressure brings out the best in all of us."

Belfast Telegraph


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