Denis Leamy talks Rugby World Cup

Denis Leamy has told that he believes Ireland will be a different animal to the side that faced Italy when they take on France this weekend – but that the French will be in no mood to roll over either.

“I reckon there will be a massive mind-shift now for the next day,” the former Irish international star said. “I think guys will totally refocus, I think they’ll be hard on each other – the group is very success orientated and there is some massive leaders in there like Paul and Johno Sexton and these sort of fellows and they’ll be chirping away about setting massive standards and how important tempo against France will be and I think Ireland will get back to that high level of consistency that we’re used to seeing from them.”

Everyone talks about the mercurial nature of performances from France in internationals, but the Munster hero points out that the “bad” France rarely turn up against the Irish.

“I think it’s a relevant point with the French when they are playing other nations but for whatever reason the French always turned up against Ireland – they always have, they don’t fear Ireland one bit and you look back through the last couple of years even when France have been going badly – you think back to last year’s decider in Paris, France were in turmoil and they came within inches of beating Ireland. I have no doubt that France will turn up, that France will bring their A game, and France will be as good as they can be. In saying that, I think Ireland will do the same and in my opinion Ireland are a better team, a better rugby team. They have more inspirational leaders, you think Paul, you think Sexton, you think Heaslip – through the spine of the team Ireland have more influential characters than France do and I think that will be enough to win the game.”

2015 Rugby World Cup Group D, Olympic Stadium, London, England 4/10/2015 Ireland vs Italy IrelandÕs Peter O'Mahony and Michele Campagnaro of Italy Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Leamy’s confidence stems not only from what he believes is a top class team, but also from a top class coach, one he admits that he would dearly loved to have played under in the green jersey.

“With all dues respect to Eddie O’Sullivan and Declan Kidney, who in their own right were great coaches, don’t get me wrong, I would loved to have worked with Joe Schmidt (pictured top), definitely without a shadow of a doubt. He seems to get the best out of the players he worked with and that’s what you want. Ireland are very clear in what Joe wants, they are very very detailed, everything is inch perfect, there is no grey area and that is something the players have bought into. I like the idea of that.”

“I think the right man is in charge and we have probably our best team ever in a World Cup. I think it’s Ireland’s time. We’re in the top four I would think, Australia, New Zealand, I suppose South Africa and Ireland. Now France are somewhere hovering around there as well but Ireland are in the top four favourites at this stage. I think they’ve got a lovely blend of experience, they’ve got a lot of caps now, they have guys who know how to win Test matches, know how to win knock-out matches – Rory Best, Jamie Heaslip, Sean O’Brien, Keith Earls, Paul O’Connell, Johno Sexton, Rob Kearney – these guys are world class players. Ireland have more world class players than they ever had before. Think back ten years ago we had three world class players, now suddenly we have six or seven. You’re going to need world class players to win a World Cup and that can’t be understated. I think it’s Ireland’s time I really do and the crucial man is Joe Schmidt and if there’s any coach out there who can do it with Ireland it is Joe.”


Having played at World Cups in 2007 and 2011, Denis Leamy is enjoying the chance to watch from the other side of the fence now and he told that he’s delighted with the way the country has come out in force to support the team.

“I’m really enjoying it and it’s great to see the country get behind the team. There’s not too many sports on the world stage that we have a realistic chance of winning a World Cup –and I say that with a lot of apprehension, but of all sports on the international arena it is probably the one that we can turn around and say we can possibly win a World Cup here. That’s a nice thing and I think the general sports fan has got behind the rugby team, and there’s a great buzz and that’s great for the sport of rugby. At the end of the day we’re the fourth biggest sport in Ireland after hurling, gaelic football and soccer and it’s nice to have a little time in the sun.”

We are celebrating Ireland’s drive for history in the RWC 2015 with an amazing offer on the Canterbury IRFU RWC15 Home Test Commemorative Jersey. Get your hands on this fantastic offer here and in selected stores!



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