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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Cup triumph still on says Hickie
Denis Hickie of Ireland
Denis Hickie says Ireland have to lift their game
Ireland v Georgia
Chaban Delmas Stadium, Bordeaux
Saturday, 15 September
Kick-off: 2000 BST
Live coverage on BBC Radio 5live & the BBC Sport website

Denis Hickie believes Ireland must not abandon ambitions of winning the World Cup despite their faltering start to the tournament.

Ireland's unconvincing 32-17 win over Namibia has led to questions about whether Eddie O'Sullivan's men are serious contenders.

"We are ambitious and are not in the competition to reach a quarter-final," said winger Hickie.

"We have to say we want to win it. The guys are keen to put things right."

Georgia are next up for Ireland on Saturday and they need to rediscover the form that lit up the end of their RBS 6 Nations campaign ahead of crucial Pool D collisions with France and Argentina.

But while Hickie acknowledges Ireland's start to the World Cup has been disappointing, he insists the team must continue to aim high.


"You have to say how you feel about these things - it is typical that us saying we want to win the World Cup is now being used as a stick to beat us," he said.

"We said we want to win it and when we start playing badly, everyone tells us we are not going to win the World Cup.

"It is a very Irish thing to do. It is part of the Irish psyche to hide your lights under a bushel, but there comes a time when you can't kid people."

The display against Namibia delivered a sobering blow to Ireland, who were clearly shaken by one of the nation's worst performances in recent memory.

If you don't play well then you have to take what is coming to you

Denis Hickie

Hickie has revealed the players have taken full responsibility for the error-strewn opener, absolving the coaching staff of any blame in the process.

And the Leinster winger has urged his team to repay the loyalty shown by O'Sullivan after the Ireland coach selected virtually the same side to face Georgia in Bordeaux on Saturday.

"The coach can only tell you so much about what to do - if you can't hold onto the ball and start making bad decisions, there is nothing the management can do about it," aded Hickie.

"We played like a team that is inexperienced rather than one that has been together a long time. We are very annoyed with ourselves.

"We are no under illusions - if you don't play well then you have to take what is coming to you. It is fantastic that Eddie has given us another chance."


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