Ireland centre Gordon D’Arcy and second row Paul O’Connell both underwent scans this morning to investigate hamstring injuries that they picked up during the Rugby World Cup Pool C encounter with Australia on Saturday evening.
The scans confirmed that D’Arcy and O’Connell have picked up hamstring strains and both players will be monitored over the coming days on the progress of their recovery. No decision on their availability for the game against Russia will be made until the team is announced at lunchtime (local New Zealand time) on Friday.
In other team news, the Ireland squad enjoyed a down day following the transfer of their team base from Auckland to the beautiful surroundings of Lake Taupo as they prepare for their Rugby World Cup Pool C game against Russia on Sunday.
Ireland second row Donncha O’Callaghan was certainly keen on getting the balance right between rest and work: “With a bit of a longer turnaround this week then we had for the Australia game, it’s great to be able to have that extra day to let the bumps and bruises settle before we hit the training pitch again. Some guys might head out for a look around Taupo. The area sounds a little bit like Queenstown, with some really good outdoor activities to help the lads relax. Others might be happy to hang around the hotel, so It’s good to have that flexibility and the down days have been great whether we do something together as a group or do our own thing.
“There was an incredible buzz around the lads when we were setting off from Auckland to come down here (Taupo). You sort of expect that after a good win, but something we have all been chatting about is that we need to remain focused on the job at hand. Our goal has always been to qualify from our pool and just because we had a big win on Saturday night, it guarantees us nothing. We have two games left against two teams who will challenge us physically across the park, so we want to get ourselves right for that.
“We worked really hard last week with the coaches both on and off the pitch to get things right. The work ethic was always very high over the last couple of months, but it was about making sure we did that work justice by delivering it on the pitch. I think we managed to do that, but the challenge is now to keep the standards of our preparations up this week to reach the Russia game in as good a shape as possible. We don’t know what the coaches have in mind for selection (for the Russia game), but there is such a good vibe at the moment, with lads busting a gut on the training field wanting to be involved, I don’t think anybody will want to be left out for the Russia game.
O’Callaghan also made a special mention of the support that the team has experienced both on and off the field. “The amount of green in the stadium was incredible on Saturday night in Eden Park, just as it was in New Plymouth. Even the days before the games, the numbers of expatriates and travelling Irish as well as local people, shops and bars that we saw supporting Ireland was great. It has all added to create incredible atmospheres and hopefully we can get similar support in Rotorua this weekend.”