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Spala Sojourn

17th June 2007 By Munster Rugby

While the Aussies, South Africans and New Zedders set about knocking seven lumps out of each other and then some, Ireland’s elite are in Spala,freezing their whatsit’s off, very safe from the madding crowd.

While the Aussies, South Africans and New Zedders set about knocking seven lumps out of each other and then some, Ireland’s elite are in Spala,freezing their whatsit’s off, very safe from the madding crowd.

Now had the fifteen who didn’t go to Argentina, them that are in Poland  now, seen the opening game of the Tri-Nations  between South Africa and Australia, it would have served to put those victories in the autumn firmly in perspective.

Back then, the Australians and Springboks travelled ‘light’ and  Ireland defeated both, but what was served up by the tourists in the autumn,  bore absolutely no resemblance to the fare witnessed in Cape Town on Saturday. Last November there was no sign of  Percy Montgomery, Jacques Fourie, Butch James, Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield or Schalk Burger when the Springboks ambled out onto Lansdowne Road. And there was an international debut for nineteen year-old Francois Steyn, the youngster whose drop-goals beat Australia on Saturday.

Going into Saturday’s game the Wallabies, thanks to less than impressive wins over Wales, were given no chance against the Boks, but they gave as good as they got and very well might have won only for two moments of magic from Steyn.

So beware the Ides of November must be the message to all those who were lamenting the absence of the Blicks back then and confidently predicting that, "well if the Blicks are to be beaten in the World Cup, d’y know this Irish side……"

The Irish frontliners spend this week in Spala and then after a week at home return to Poland as part of a larger group at the start of July before assembling at the end of that month for their pre RWC camp.

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