Ireland arrives in Dunedin, waits on injured trio
Updated: September 26, 2011, 03:48
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DUNEDIN, New Zealand(AP) Ireland arrived in Dunedin on Monday still unsure whether it will have a full squad of 30 players to choose from for its final Rugby World Cup pool match against Italy.
Paul O'Connell, Gordon D'Arcy and Tommy Bowe were all rested from Sunday's 62-12 win over Russia to let them get over minor niggles but team management will only have a clear idea about the trio's availability after a training session at Carisbrook on Tuesday.
"They've had some rehab over the weekend but we won't really be able to give an update until after our run out tomorrow,'' team manager Paul McNaughton said. "It's too early to say. We're hopeful that everyone will be fit, so we're not ruling anyone out.''
McNaughton said Sean O'Brien, Rob Kearney and Keith Earls should all be fine after sustaining minor knocks against Russia. O'Brien had a bruised arm, Kearney a jarred knee and Earls an injured leg.
"People who played the game yesterday didn't get any further injuries there,'' McNaughton said.
Ireland is in pole position to win Pool C and secure a favorable quarterfinal draw after beating Tri-Nations champion Australia, but McNaughton said the team's three straight wins had not changed anything regarding its approach to the last group match.
"We always knew we had to beat Italy,'' McNaughton said. "We're all very pleased to beat Australia but Italy was the game we had to win. The team has focused on each match, nobody is thinking about the draw or anything like that.
"Nobody is looking beyond this game.''