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Thursday 19 July 2018

Drico eyes glory in final hurrah

Captain keen to see out his last World Cup in style

IRISH captain Brian O'Driscoll is going to the World Cup with an attitude of 'no regrets' in order to create new memories that will have to last a lifetime.

"This is my last one," he said. "I'm not going to look back in five or 10 years and wish that I'd been into it a bit more. I will enjoy the next six, hopefully, seven weeks and, hopefully, create some new memories along the way," he said.

Just before the Ireland squad departed for Queenstown last night, the captain was in decidedly upbeat humour, clearly excited by the prospect of his fourth World Cup.

The fact that Ireland have lost four straight warm-up internationals has been left in the long-term car park. He is only looking one way as he bids to outdo his poor personal return of one quarter-final from three Cups.

"Pre-season games are different to World Cups," he said. "People just expect you to pick up where you have left off having had a four-week holiday and a pre-season. It doesn't happen like that.

"You have to play your way into getting form. Very rarely do you see any team in the world in their first match together playing brilliant rugby.

"You don't see it in the All Blacks. You don't see it in Australia. You don't see it in South Africa, England, France, Wales, ourselves. You never see it.

"Teams have to build. We have been building over the last four games in parts. Now, we have to put it all together into one piece.

"Only people who have been there and done that can really understand how difficult it is to build your way into things. It is not just a flick of a switch and you are back to the last time you pulled on a green jersey against England in the Six Nations. It doesn't work that way."

There is no impression of Ireland taking Eddie O'Sullivan's USA for granted. The deeds of 2007 are there in the history books. Namibia and Georgia almost wrecked the dream before Argentina made sure it was a nightmare.

"Test match rugby is named that because that is what it is, a test. They would call it 'easy match' rugby if it was that. It is a test against everyone," he added.

"When you get to World Cups, people are fighting for their lives, fighting for the pride of their country on the biggest stage. It is a chance to make a mark.

"Irrespective of where you are from, you are going to play like it is your last game. Some of the perceived minnows will look and think there are scalps to be had and we'll have to be on our guard."

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