Ireland out-muscled and out-gunned by Wales fell at the quarter finals in New Zealand 2011. The quarter final was a fine game with thrust and parry from both teams. But in the end it was youth that won the day. Ireland failed to take a couple of chances and Wales took every point offered. They were worthy winners and on this form one has to say they look as though they will be one of the teams competing in the final on 23 October at Eden Park Auckland. Ireland as an ageing team will be looking to rebuild in time for the next Rugby World Cup in England 2015.
Ireland face Australia and Italy as the only strong teams in the Pool Stage of the Rugby World Cup. Declan Kidney became Ireland coach in 2007 following the failure in France and created an exciting Irish side to watch, with a mixture of forward power and exciting backs they are a consistent top performer in the six nations and threat to any side.
Ireland have never got past the quarter final stages of the Rugby World Cup, losing twice to Australia, twice to France and in 1999 losing to Argentina in the Quarter Final Play-offs (28-24) their worst performance in World Cup history to date. That meant Ireland had to qualify for the World Cup in Australia, facing a European qualifying group in 2002, which they came through with ease. France 2007 and they fell to Argentina again but in the pool stage finishing third. Having played 20 World Cup matches, the Emerald shirts have a fairly balanced record winning 13 and losing 12.
Ireland have new shirts in time for the World Cup in New Zealand. The shirts were launched during July. Although they have stayed true to the colour green the shirt is very different to all previous versions. They have joined England and most tier one nations it utilising all the latest technology. The shirt manufactured by Puma new to Ireland, features special sticky panels. It can be seen and purchased through the Ireland Shirts page.
In Brian O'Driscoll, Ireland have one of the worlds best centres, having starred for the British Lions on their tour of Australia in 2001 and then South Africa in 2009, he has superb ball skills and electric pace which mean he is a threat to any defence. Brian now has a couple of other exciting backs in Rob Kearney and Tommy Bowe with silky skills.
Ireland feature in pool 'C' along Australia, Italy, Russia and USA in New Zealand 2011. Although Italy will give them a test we would be surprised and disappointed if they do not progress as second in the pool.
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