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Former on field foe tips Ireland to break World Cup hoodoo

By Ian Cameron
Cian Healy and Jacob Stockdale (left) sum up Ireland's dejection following their shock defeat to Japan at the World Cup (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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A one-time foe of Ireland’s believes that the men in green can finally break their Rugby World Cup hoodoo and make it through to the semi-finals of the 2023 competition.

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Ireland are yet to get beyond a quarter-final in the tournament, and even faced the ignominy of a pool stage exit in 2007 in France. Argentina has played the villain on more than one occasion too, playing a central role in booting Ireland out in 1999, 2007 and 2015.

Now Pumas assistant coach Juan Fernández Lobbe has told The42’s Garry Doyle that he believes Ireland can and should make it through to the final four of the sport’s flagship competition.

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“It is not for me to say or analyse what has gone on in the past in Irish rugby but I can tell you what happened to us [Argentina] in 2007 and again in 2015.

“You get a group of players, all clicking, all tuning into the same frequency, all believing in the same goal, all going for the same purpose.

Ireland Farrell <a href=
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“We had that in those two tournaments, 2007 and 2015.

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“Also, we had the rugby Gods allowing the ball to bounce our way. You always need a bit of luck. Maybe Ireland have never had that in a World Cup. Remember 2015? They didn’t have Paul O’Connell, Johnny Sexton, Peter O’Mahony or Sean O’Brien when they played us in the quarters. Luck is a factor.

“Looking at Ireland now, they are a team full of confidence who are really going in the right direction and who believe in what they are doing.

“A World Cup semi-final? I hope they get there – providing they are not on the same side of the draw as us – because you can see they are a proud rugby nation. People are really behind their team. The effort is there, you can see that. If they continue to believe then one day that gate will open for them but it’ll never be easy because all the other nations want the same thing.”

Ireland play Argentina on Sunday at the Aviva Stadium at 2.15pm.

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Ireland: H Keenan (Leinster); R Baloucoune (Ulster), G Ringrose (Leinster), R Henshaw (Leinster), J Lowe (Leinster); J Carbery (Munster), C Murray (Munster); A Porter (Leinster), R Kelleher (Leinster), T Furlong (Leinster), I Henderson (Ulster), J Ryan (Leinster, capt), C Doris (Leinster), J Van Der Flier (Leinster), J Conan (Leinster).

Replacements: D Sheehan (Leinster), C Healy (Leinster), T O’Toole, (Ulster), T Beirne (Munster), P O’Mahony (Munster), C Casey (Munster), H Byrne (Leinster), K Earls (Munster).

Argentina: E Boffelli; M Carreras, M Moroni, J De La Fuente, L Cinti; S Carreras, T Cubelli; T Gallo, J Montoya (capt), F Gomez Kodela, G Petti, T Lavanini, S Grondona, M Kremer, P Matera.

Replacements: F Bosch, I Calles, E Bello, L Paulos, I Facundo, G Bertranou, N Sanchez, F Lamb.

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