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Robinson: 'Ireland's huge mental battle'

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English World Cup winner calls on stuttering Ireland to finally show what they have got

Jason Robinson has called on under-achieving Ireland to finally stand up and fight for their World Cup lives when they face Samoa on Saturday in Fukuoka.

A World Cup winner in 2003 with England, Robinson knows from personal experience in 2007 what it is like to absorb the devastating blow of a pool stage defeat. 

England were trounced 36-0 by South Africa in Paris in their second match of the tournament 12 years ago. Yet, they somehow demonstrated fantastic mental resilience to bounce back from that humiliation to reach the final five weeks later against the same opposition.

Having since witnessed the Springboks use their own humiliating pool loss to Japan at the 2015 finals to provide the motivation for a resounding run to the semi-final and ultimately a third-place finish, Robinson is challenging Ireland – surprisingly beaten by the Japanese on September 28 – to come out and similarly deliver with their World Cup hopes very much on the line this weekend.

“When Japan beat South Africa it gave South Africa a huge kick up the backside. Now Ireland have been beaten by the host nation. Everybody has seen it, everybody has been talking about it. It is the biggest upset of the World Cup so far and now what I’m expecting to see is a backlash, those Ireland players just turning it around.

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They have some world-class players. They have got a team that I thought could really make a challenge for this World Cup and I still believe it is in there, it just needs to come out,” said Robinson, speaking on behalf of Land Rover, an official worldwide partner of Rugby World Cup 2019.

“I’m thinking this (loss to Japan) is going to have the same effect as it did on South Africa, who then ended up getting into a semi-final, because there is no hiding place and Ireland have been put through the cleaners. This is where mentally now it is huge for Ireland. They have to come out, they have to deliver. Over the years Ireland have never done themselves justice in World Cups and it’s such a shame. 

“I’m not Irish but I know the quality of the players they have got in there. It is all well and good winning a Six Nations or whatever it is, doing well in the lead-up to these tournaments. But the World Cup is the one that players want to be remembered for.

“This is the one that you want to make your mark on and this is the one that will have the most effect on your team, on your country. For those players, it is going to be four years before it comes around again and some will never get the opportunity again. There has to be a reaction to them losing that game to Japan.

“Hopefully, we will see it because it will make the competition even better. I’d rather see Ireland in the quarters because potentially you want the best teams in there, but this is a real test mentally and we will see what they have got.”

WATCH: The moment when two of this Saturday’s World Cup games were officially cancelled

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Land Rover is an official worldwide partner of Rugby World Cup 2019.  With over 20 years of heritage supporting rugby at all levels, Land Rover is celebrating what makes rugby, rugby. #LandRoverRugby

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English World Cup winner calls on stuttering Ireland to finally show what they have got