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Hands Off The Panic Button

10th September 2007 By Munster Rugby

David Wallace breaks through the Clermont defence

David Wallace breaks through the Clermont defence David Wallace breaks through the Clermont defence

A disappointing performance it was, no question of that, and the players themselves will need no reminding, but as Rob Henderson pointed out afterwards on TV3, competitions like this are not won and lost in the opening round.

A disappointing performance it was, no question of that, and the players themselves will need no reminding, but as Rob Henderson pointed out afterwards on TV3, competitions like this are not won and lost in the opening round.


When Henderson was asked by presenter Matt Cooper, what were the positives, Hendo looked surprised as only he can and replied, "Well how about, we won, we got the bonus point ?"

Before they set off for the competition Ireland knew exactly what lay in front of them. The best route was of course to win the Group in order to avoid a clash with the All Blacks in the quarter final and to be sure of that, they needed to win all their games.

So what’s changed ?

They’ve played one, gained maximum points and are currently four points clear of the French who they play in just under two weeks time.

So there really is no need for all the hullabaloo about the Namibian match. Yes Ireland did under-perform. Made a load of mistakes. Were awarded a very dodgy try but still the morning papers show them top of Pool D. Exactly where they’d planned to be when they set off from Dublin Airport last week.

Looking at the commentator’s mournful faces on our televisions last night one was reminded of the doom and gloom that attached itself to Munster’s Heineken Cup hopes in 05/06 after the back-to-back matches with Newport-Gwent Dragons had failed to produce even one bonus point.

Yet Munster survived and prospered and Ireland will survive too. Whether they prosper in terms of their overall aim remains to be seen.

What we do know for sure is that the French are no world beaters. They have more than a few who have reached and passed their best sell by date and if Ireland produce anything like their best form then, we’ll be where we expected to be on September 30th.

Playing Argentina for the prize of dodging the All Black bullet.

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