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Irish Rugby
BOD sounds World Cup rallying call
ESPNscrum Staff
August 23, 2011

Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll has called upon the whole squad to stand up and be counted ahead of the World Cup.

Luke Fitzgerald and Tomas O'Leary were the two big-name casualties when coach Declan Kidney named his squad for New Zealand yesterday. Scrum-half Conor Murray and wing/centre Fergus McFadden, both rookies, are two of the players who are initially expected to offer cover but could force their way into the Test team.

O'Driscoll believes having competition for places is crucial if Ireland want to make an impact at the World Cup. "It's very disappointing for Luke and for a number of other guys who would love to have been involved, but it shows the strength and the quality of our squad," said the captain.

"The people who have been included will be delighted and now for them it's about pushing for a first XV place. That's the mentality we need to have at the World Cup to make it a success."

O'Driscoll marvels at the conditioning of Leinster team-mate McFadden and insists he will be keen to challenge Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble and Keith Earls for one of the wing spots.

"Fergus brings great energy," said O'Driscoll. "He's a strange one in that he can take four weeks off training but blow everyone away in pre-season when he comes back.

"He's probably one of the fittest guys I know. It seems unfair that he doesn't have to work on it like some of us. He's a great personality who works off the ball a huge amount and is very selfless.

"He won't be happy with just making the squad. He's delighted to be involved but he'll want to start. The work has just begun for him."

Ireland face England on Saturday in the last of their World Cup warm-up internationals. Three successive defeats to Scotland and France, home and away, have turned their showdown against Martin Johnson's side into a must-win encounter.

O'Driscoll believes they have a better chance of reversing their slump if they rediscover the enjoyment factor. "There's no doubt that by enjoying yourselves you'll play your best rugby and by winning you'll enjoy yourselves," he said. "It's a chicken and egg scenario. It's on our minds that we want to get the results that will allow us to look forward to the World Cup and take our game to the next level."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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