D'Arcy: Ireland must believe
September 14, 2011
Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy is confident that Declan Kidney's men have what it takes to topple Australia © Getty Images
Gordon D'Arcy is in no doubt that Ireland have the talent to defeat Australia in their crunch Rugby World Cup Pool C clash in Auckland this weekend and that their chances of recording an upset hinge on one crucial factor - belief.
The Irish go into the game as massive underdogs, having arrived in New Zealand on the back of four successive defeats and then kicked off their campaign with a laboured 22-10 victory over the USA in New Plymouth on Sunday.
The Wallabies, meanwhile, fresh for their stirring Tri-Nations triumph, underlined their status as one of the tournament favourites with a scintillating second-half display in their 32-6 rout of Italy in North Shore City.
One the face of it, there will only be one winner but D'Arcy is adamant that Ireland have it in them to defy the odds.
"I think we're capable of beating Australia. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think so," said the Leinster centre. "We can do as much video and prepare as best as we can, but if you don't believe you're already on the back foot.
"Belief is a massive, massive thing in sport. You must have belief in yourself and the belief in the guys around you. I believe that across the board we can match and beat them.
"Australia are the form team coming into the World Cup. We wouldn't underestimate them at all. Quade Cooper is one of the outstanding backs in the world this year. Pat McCabe has given them that directness they've been looking for. Adam Ashley-Cooper has been phenomenal.
"They are a very good team and it would be foolish to think otherwise. But in the same breath there's no point me saying I don't think we can beat them. We can't put them on a pedestal."
D'Arcy freely acknowledges, though, that he and his fellow backs will have to show far greater incision and penetration than they did against the Eagles if they are to trouble the Wallabies.
"We weren't happy with the way we played (against USA). We obviously let the forwards down because they had a pretty good game," he said. "It was a good wake up call for us. We should have kicked on more, but we lacked that bit of accuracy and clinical touch."
On a personal level, D'Arcy feels that he is finally close to 100 percent match fit after missing Ireland's first two World Cup warm-up fixtures with an ankle injury.
"I'm feeling really good. Last weekend was the best I've felt in a game," he said. "I'm happy with where I'm going. I'm not where I want to be form wise, but hopefully this week will be another step up the ladder.
"I've had three games under the belt now. We worked out a plan of when I'd be peaking and hopefully it will be on Saturday."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson