And there was a little extra training done before the Irish squad walked back to their nearby hotel. As the Irish players left the training field, members of the Dockers Aussie Rules team arrived to do their training and a little game of Aussie Rule ensued the home side somewhat surprised at how quickly the Alan Quinlan, Ronan O'Gara led irish boys adapted to this 'foreign' game.
The good news from an Irish point of view is that Peter Stringer took a full part in this morning's session, the scrum-half had injured his hand yesterday and there was some doubt concerning his availability but he came through the morning stint - conducted in very changeable weather, a mixture of rain and sunshine - with flying colours and will take his place in the side for Saturday's test.
Reaction among the Munster players to the news of their draw for next year's Heineken Cup went along predictable lines, Alan Quinlan, saying, "it certainly doesn't get any easier. I would have preferred to have avoided Gloucester really. I suppose they'll feel that have a point to prove after what we did to them in Thomond. We played Bourgoin a few years ago and they were tough.
They won out there and we only just beat them at home. I don't know too much about the Italians except that they appear to have a host of internationals in their squad. No matter what way you look at it, it's a tough group and we really do need to get out of it on top to have a home quarter final, that is so important."
Ronan O'Gara, shared Quinlan's sense of deja vu at having to play Gloucester again. "I can still remember that first match in Kingsholm when they gave us a scutching. They're a good side and I think they'll certainly be up for both games against us. What I can't understand is the seeding process. They were seeded two in England and we were seeded two in Ireland so how come we ended up in the same Pool ? I don't suppose it matters really because the English sides will all be better this time around. Look at London Wasps, they've had a phenomenal season and they'll certainly be contenders next year. The French side, Bourgoin just missed out on a quarter final place this time and they'll have benefitted from their experience this year. The two Italians sides will be strong,particularly Treviso but Bourgoin could be real dark horses."
Irish Side to Face Australia:
15 Girvan Dempsey (Leinster Terenure College) 14 James Topping (Ulster Ballymena) 13 Geordan Murphy (Leicester) 12 - Kevin Maggs (Bath) 11 John Kelly (Munster Cork Constitution) 10 David Humphreys (Ulster Dungannon) captain 9 Peter Stringer (Munster Shannon) 1 Marcus Horan (Munster Shannon) 2-Shane Byrne (Leinster Blackrock College) 3 - Reggie Corrigan (Leinster Greystones) 4 Gary Longwell (Ulster Ballymena) 5 Malcolm O Kelly (Leinster- St. Mary s College) 6 - Alan Quinlan (Munster Shannon) 7 Keith Gleeson (Leinster St.Mary s College) 8 Victor Costello (Leinster St. Mary s College).
Replacements: Paul Shields, Emmet Byrne, Paul O'Connell, Eric Miller, Guy Easterby, Ronan O'Gara , Tyrone Howe.
VODAFONE WALLABIES To play IRELAND in Perth on Saturday, June 7th 2003
1. Bill Young 2. Jeremy Paul 3. Patricio Noriega 4. Nathan Sharpe 5. David Giffin 6. David Lyons 7. George Smith 8. Toutai Kefu 9. George Gregan [c] 10. Elton Flatley 11. Joe Roff 12. Steve Kefu 13. Morgan Turinui 14. Wendell Sailor 15. Chris Latham
Replacements: 16. Brendan Cannon, 17. Ben Darwin, 18. Daniel Vickerman, 19. Phil Waugh, 20. Chris Whitaker, 21. Nathan Grey, 22. Lote Tuqiri *