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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Fines and fine tuning

By Brian O'Driscoll
Ireland centre

I cannot wait until Sunday to get back into action again.

The bang in the ribs I got against Romania has fully cleared up and I'm raring to go against Namibia.

I have been watching the games on television and all I want to do is to get out onto the paddock and play. I find that there is too much space in between the games. It's a bit frustrating at times.

Brian O'Driscoll (centre) takes part in a group hug with his Irish team-mates
Fun has played a part in Ireland's celebrations

Other times you want a rest, but at the minute I'm itching to get at it.

Playing against Namibia hopefully allows us to try things out. At the same time we are certainly not planning to play Sevens rugby against them.

We have to take them very seriously, and play to some structure that will help us in the games ahead.

We have to aim high and, while we want to get a win, we must get that compulsory bonus point as our group is probably one of the tightest in the competition.

There will be things we'll try out, but first and foremost we will be playing to a pattern and attempting to achieve things that we have worked on.

I watched the All Blacks against Canada on Friday and, while they looked good, I wouldn't say they were exactly awesome.

If they play like that against England, they'll have difficulty beating them.

Obviously they are going to get better as the competition progresses, but honestly I think the team to beat is England. They are really powerful.

Paul O'Connell took a real battering on Friday for three different things, and he's now sulking

England have been hit by injury before the South Africa game, but you are always going to get knocks within the squad.

We had Reggie Corrigan sidelined for our next match, and I'm sure others will have the same problem. It's a physical game and injuries will happen no matter who you come up against nowadays.

We have been having a good build-up at our base at Terrigal and our training has been going really well.

Obviously, we are confident about Sunday's game, hoping it will be in dry conditions and we'll get a chance to run the ball out wide.

While we are, as all teams, taking things slowly and a game at a time, we are looking to the Argentina game as the real big test.

But we have to get over this hurdle, and teams like Namibia are not going to lie down for us. They are proud and will throw everything at us.

Only then, can we then really focus on the Pumas game.

Guy Easterby is the judge for the Irish team
Guy Easterby is the man to watch out for

We are fairly relaxed at our training base, and we have been having a fair craic.

I'm lucky that I have single room, but I have Ronan O'Gara and Alan Quinlan in the suite beside me, and it is becoming quite stressful.

As you can imagine there is some serious banter going on. They are a pair of messers.

Guy Easterby is the tour judge among us, and he is fairly difficult to deal with. He has had the job for a few years now, and he is handing down fines like confetti.

He's brilliant at it, with some great humour, and we are having a really good laugh which is a break from the serious stuff.

Poor Mal O'Kelly is taking a real hammering and has had to give the kitty a fair quid. Paul O'Connell took a real battering on Friday for three different things, and he's now sulking.

Nobody escapes. It seems to come around in circles. Thankfully I haven't been caught for a few days now. But Guy will always come up with something to fine me for.

Hopefully all will be forgiven against Namibia on Sunday.





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