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Wednesday, 1 November, 2000, 09:31 GMT
Herron believes victory is vital
Ireland v Samoa
Ireland enjoyed an opening day win over Samoa
Ireland have an extra incentive to emerge from with maximum points from Wednesday night's World Cup encounter with Scotland in Dublin - it is the only way they will avoid a quarter-final tussle with Australia.

The Kangaroos' win over England at Twickenham at the weekend has lined them up for a confrontation with the runners-up in Ireland's Group Four.

As the overwhelming favourites for the competition, Australia are the team everyone is looking to avoid.

And Belfast-born Ian Herron is no exception. "It is imperative that we win this group," said Herron, who spent his formative years Down Under before moving the now defunct Super League outfit Gateshead last year.

Top teams

"We don't want to play Australia in the quarter-finals. We would prefer to wait until the final.

"Once you go so far in a competition, you expect to play the top teams but it would be better if we could wait until the end."

Herron takes over from veteran Mark Forster on the wing, one of two changes from the side which defeated Samoa in the opening match of the competition in Belfast on Saturday.

Hooker Jonny Lawless is promoted from the bench and replaces Danny Williams.

The visitors - who lost by a single point to New Zealand Maori in Glasgow on Sunday - flew to the Emerald Isle without winger Graham Mackay who suffered a calf injury at the weekend, coach Shaun McRae drafting in Hull's Matt Crowther.


It is imperative that we win this group
Ireland winger Ian Herron

World Cup officials are bracing themselves for another poor gate as the 13-man code struggles to gain recognition among the Irish sporting public.

The development work is not being aided by the miserable weather conditions on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Ireland's training session at Tolka Park - home of Shelbourne FC - was cancelled on Tuesday because the football club were concerned that it could have made conditions at the ground unplayable.

"We are ready to take them on," said McRae.

Shaun O'Neill
Shaun O'Neill: 'ready to take them on'

"We are capable of beating Samoa and Ireland because they won't be as physical as the Maoris.

"Both teams will tell you the first game gets rid of the cobwebs and I hope my players will respond."

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BBC Radio Ulster's Adam Coates talks to Ireland manager Ralph Rimmer
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