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Rugby World Cup 2011
Ireland vs Wales
Stadium: Wellington Regional Stadium
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington.
DATE: Saturday October 8, 2011
KICK-OFF: 16 : 00 (AEST)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: Played 116: Ireland 47, Wales 63, drawn 6
HEAD-TO-HEAD IN WORLD CUPS: Played 2: Ireland 1, Wales 1
LAST TIME: March 12, 2011 (Cardiff): Wales 19-13 Ireland
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes, Romain Poite
Ireland’s biggest concern was over hooker Rory Best, whose shoulder was responding to treatment through the week. Whether it allows him to play is yet to be determined, but he has been named in a bracket with Sean Cronin, and a decision will be made closer to match day. Otherwise, Ireland have named the same side which put Italy away comfortably in the final pool match.
Shane Williams is back for Wales, which has meant the back three has been shuffled with Leigh Halfpenny going to fullback and George North to the right wing. Jonathan Davies returns at centre while Dan Lydiate has recovered from his ankle injury and takes over at No.6, while there was no surprise in Alun Wyn Jones being recalled after warming the bench against Fiji.
Ireland 2011 RWC:
Beat USA 22-10
Beat Australia 15-6
Beat Russia 62-12
Beat Italy 36-6
First in Pool C
Wales 2011 RWC:
Lost to South Africa 16-17
Beat Samoa 17-10
Beat Namibia 81-7
Beat Fiji 66-0
Second in Pool D
Ireland’s players are well aware the team has never made the semi-finals, but this group is ready to change that. Winger Tommy Bowe, who has been a constant threat in this tournament, summed it up nicely. “This team is in as strong a position as we’ve ever had. We’ve got some world-class players. In the past we’ve always been strong going into the World Cup but failed playing against some of the top teams. This time we’ve beaten Australia and Italy,” he said. A win over Wales would make those two victories pale in comparison.
Warren Gatland was upbeat in his post-selection chat with the press. “This is Rugby World Cup quarter-final time and we had some tough decisions to make with the likes of Dan [Lydiate], Shane [Williams] and James [Hook] returning from injury and the side having done so well in their recent absence,” he said, after acknowledging the selection was hard because he had so many players whose form warranted consideration at worst. “It’s a great position to be in when you are struggling to find a place for players in the squad and the starting line-up.”
Ireland: 1. Cian Healy, 2. Rory Best or Sean Cronin, 3. Mike Ross, 4. Donncha O’Callaghan, 5. Paul O’Connell, 6. Stephen Ferris, 7. Sean O’Brien, 8. Jamie Heaslip, 9. Conor Murray, 10. Ronan O’Gara, 11. Keith Earls, 12. Gordon D’Arcy, 13. Brian O’Driscoll (capt), 14. Tommy Bowe, 15. Rob Kearney.
Reserves: 16. Cronin or Damien Varley, 17. Tom Court, 18. Donnacha Ryan, 19. Denis Leamy, 20. Eion Reddan, 21. Jonathan Sexton, 22. Andrew Trimble.
Wales: 1. Gethin Jenkins, 2. Huw Bennett, 3. Adam Jones, 4. Luke Charteris, 5. Alun Wyn Jones, 6. Dan Lydiate, 7. Sam Warburton (capt), 8. Toby Faletau, 9. Mike Phillips, 10. Ryan Priestland, 11. Shane Williams, 12. Jamie Roberts, 13. Jonathan Davies, 14. George North, 15. Leigh Halfpenny.
Reserves: 16. Lloyd Burns, 17. Paul James, 18. Bradley Davies, 19. Ryan Jones, 20. Lloyd Williams, 21. James Hook, 22. Scott Williams.
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