And admits they would definitely need the luck of the Irish to win it…
Paul O’Connell believes Ireland have yet to play to their potential in a rugby World Cup tournament but thinks his side could win the it if they have some good fortune.
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Ahead of his side’s opening Six Nations game in Italy at the weekend, O’Connell has re-iterated his desire to win the tournament and think if his side can get some good fortune they could win this year’s World Cup.
England are the only Northern Hemisphere side to win the tournament in 2003 but Ireland have impressively built momentum over the past 18 months; beating both South Africa and Australia late last year, winning the previous Six Nations and almost getting their first victory over New Zealand.
However, O’Connell admits it would still require a great deal of luck.
“If you can lift the World Cup you will go down in history. Look at the English team that won it in 2003 – the only northern hemisphere nation to have ever done that. Those guys are legends. It would be great to fulfill our potential and play to the best of our ability in this year’s World Cup,” he said, reports the Guardian.
“For Ireland to win a World Cup you need a load of things to go your way,” he says. “You need luck with injuries because we don’t have the playing numbers of other countries. But Ireland certainly have a chance of winning the World Cup. You don’t go out and play unless you believe that.”
But the 35 year old, who has already claimed 96 caps for his nation, says if they can play to their ability they definitely have a chance.
“It may sound negative but I don’t think we’ve ever played to our potential at the World Cup. Even in 2011, when we played some great rugby and beat Australia, it ended painfully. The Wales game [in the quarter-finals] was really disappointing.
“It has been more disappointing than fulfilling – and 2007 would probably be, God, a period in my career I’ll never forget or really be able to explain [as Ireland were knocked out in the pool stages]. We’re a lot more consistent now – and I don’t think we’ll be distracted by the bigger picture. Being number three in the world seven years ago was probably a big deal. This time round we’ve learnt it’s largely irrelevant.”