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We lave learned our lessons, insists Best

Rory Best
Rory Best
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

Captain Rory Best has insisted Ireland's stuttering World Cup campaign is not a re-run of their 2007 disappointment.

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Then, as now, Ireland went to the tournament with aspirations of winning the competition, a prospect talked up by players and media alike.

What followed was an embarrassing pool stage exit with France and Argentina both getting the better of Eddie O'Sullivan's men.

Best was at his first World Cup in France but stressed he sees no similarities between then and now despite losing to hosts Japan and a laboured performance when beating Russia on Thursday.

"Everyone seems to want to reference back to 2007 but this is a completely different group of players and management," said Best. "I see absolutely no resemblance to 2007 at all."

In the two World Cups since, Ireland have stormed unbeaten through the pools only to fall flat at the quarter-final stages with Best finding a peculiar positive in Ireland already being brought down to earth with a bump.

"It's alright saying that you're building, but ultimately we went into the last two quarter-finals in a really good place," he said.

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"We beat Australia in 2011, topped a group that no-one expected us to top and everyone was saying 'who have we got in the semis' because we only had Wales in the quarters and then we got absolutely hammered.

"It was the same with Argentina, everyone thought the same thing and booked the flights for the semi-finals. But sport doesn't work like that, a bit like we found out against Japan.

"We're drawing on the positivity of having a lesson learned in a World Cup. Every team has one at some point, we had ours in the second game. We need to make sure we're better than that."

Belfast Telegraph


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