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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 October, 2003, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Working on our fighting spirit

By Brian O'Driscoll
Ireland centre

What a send off we got from Marvellous Marvin Hagler this week.

It was a complete shock to see the great undisputed world middleweight champion stroll through the doors of our team room.

It was a fantastic experience seeing Hagler in the flesh.

Kevin Maggs was really taken aback. He's a great fight fan, and he just couldn't get over the fact he was in the same room as one of his idols.

It wasn't necessarily what he had to say that was so uplifting - it was simply the fact that a living legend had come to see us.

Having said that, he did have some very good points to make, which we have taken on board.

Ranulph Fiennes is an interesting guy - though perhaps a trifle strange
Before Marvin, Ranulph Fiennes, the great explorer, gave us a short talk.

Now he is an interesting guy - though perhaps a trifle strange.

But he's certainly someone with serious mental substance - a point he certainly managed to make.

There are times when things inevitably don't go your way and a lot of the discussions revolved around the need to rid the demons in your head.

But that's nothing new.

We have been involved in enough close games in the past so we're aware of what needs to be done to get the required result.

Now that all the planning is done, everyone is raring to go and to get into action. To be honest, the World Cup can't come quick enough.

There was always the chance of injury, like Jonny Bell's exit earlier this week.

But barring any last-minute hiccups, everybody appears to be fit and well. We are now very happy with the 30 players travelling.

I suppose we are under a little pressure after the IRB rankings.

It is not probable that we will win the World Cup
We realise we are probably fortunate to be ranked third, as the likes of Australia had a much harder run in to the World Cup.

But those decisions are outside our control. I just hope the expectations are not too high.

Obviously we have one big key game against Argentina in Pool A. They were our nemesis four years ago in Lens.

You have to put those disappointments behind you, however. We have done some great things since that night in 1999.

Personally, I just want Ireland to do well and be successful.

I have no goals for myself, just that we do ourselves justice.

It is not probable that we will win the World Cup, but it is a possibility, and we intend to give it our best shot.

It would be so good to achieve something in an Ireland jersey.





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