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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 October, 2003, 10:26 GMT
Irish relief after nervy win

Keith Wood's burst set up Alan Quinlan's first half try

Ireland captain Keith Wood was a relieved man after his team edged out Argentina 16-15 to guarantee a place in the World Cup quarter-finals.

The Pumas ended Ireland's World Cup hopes in 1999 and once again, the Irish endured a huge struggle against the Argentines.

"I almost can't believe how badly we played," said the Irish skipper.

"We didn't let ourselves down because we came away with a win in the end but we seemed to freeze up somewhat.

"It was such a hard game.

"We had the weight of expectation from four years ago and even if we weren't feeling it coming into the game, we felt it today".

The Irish captain felt that his side's discipline had been the key to the victory.

"We held our nerve at the end and we got the scores that counted.

Keith Woods showed great leadership today
Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan

"It was a bruising game. There were man and ball tackles all day and a lot of turnovers which indicated how nervy a game it was for both sides.

Wood said that thoughts of Saturday's game against Australia hadn't even crossed his mind yet.

"Next week will take care of itself but the shackles are off now and we have to give it a good go from now on".

Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan saluted Wood's display.

"I thought it was the performance of a great captain," said O'Sullivan.

"Cometh the hour and cometh the man.

"He's been there before in tight situations and come out on the right side of them, so having someone like that out on the pitch certainly gives you an advantage," he said.

"He really showed great leadership today."

All the players would certainly have been very anxious with 20 minutes to go
Denis Hickie

Brian O'Driscoll described Ireland's qualification for the last eight as a "fantastic feeling".

"I know the flipside of this when Argentina knocked us out of the World Cup in 1999," said the Lions centre.

"Being knocked out then was a bitter pill to swallow and that makes it so much sweeter going through this time round.

"It really went down to the death and it's such a relief that we came out on the right side of the result".

Winger Denis Hickie admitted the tension in the final quarter of the match had been intense.

"I think all the players would certainly have been very anxious with 20 minutes to go, but in all honesty I felt that that was when we picked up our game," said Hickie.

The pack had always been under immense pressure to perform against the vaunted Argentinian scrum and prop Reggie Corrigan believed he and his fellow forwards had done exactly what was required.

"I was quite happy personally with the performance because that was Argentina's biggest weapon," he said.



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