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Wallace Links up with Irish Squad
10 October 2003, 10:31 am
Back row forward replacement David Wallace arrived in Melbourne this morning just in time to join the rest of Ireland s World Cup squad for the final 30 minutes of a training session at Whitton Oval.
Back row forward replacement David Wallace arrived in Melbourne this morning just in time to join the rest of Ireland s World Cup squad for the final 30 minutes of their training session at Whitton Oval, a spacious suburban Aussie Rules ground.

Co-incidentally when he arrived at his downtown hotel to check in, he was doing so alongside the Australian compromise rules team, here for the second leg of their series against Ireland on Friday night.

Both big games will be played at the 55,000 capacity Telstra Dome on successive days and both games are sell outs, with Irish supporters accounting for at least half of the spectators.

National rugby team coach Eddie O Sullivan was surely speaking for both codes when he said today: The Irish supporters are the best in the World if you give them something to cheer about.

Specifically relating to Ireland s World Cup challenge, which has already been assigned as a success on account of guaranteed qualification for the last eight, he said: the Irish Diaspora has bought into the World Cup and our boys appreciate that. The support at our three matches so far has been unbelievable. Saturday next will be the same but that can also bring its own pressures.

The Ireland management today postponed until Thursday the scheduled announcement of the Ireland team to play Australia but O Sullivan said there were no real dramas for the change in policy.

We had a bruising encounter against Argentina on Sunday. There were a lot of sore bodies and guys were carrying knocks and bruises so we decided to hold back for a day or two. O Sullivan explained, while outlining that he anticipated all the squad, with the exception of the injured Alan Quinlan, would be available for selection.

That includes newly arrived Wallace, whom the Irish coach outlined, has come with five games under his belt. We did not go down the road of having a shadow squad on stand by in Australia. We preferred the notion of people back home playing matches in the Celtic League and in Wallace s case it is better to arrive jet-lagged than ring rusty.

Wallace was welcomed into the fold with a round of applause and some leg-pulling, not least from Alan Quinlan, the man he replaces, who said: I believe you had your bags packed by half time in the Argentinean match!

Wallace said: Of course it was disappointing to be left out in the first place, but I m here now and looking forward to being involved.

Only slight cause for concern on the injury front were Victor Costello (thigh) and Kevin Maggs (ankle), both of whom sat out today s training. Maggs, on the orders of physio Ailbe McCormack, had his right foot placed in a case of ice as he sat under a flimsy canopy offering bare relief from a chilly wind and heavy rain that dogged the session. A cup of tea was a lifesaver for him! But once more it was a bewildering reminder that bad weather has followed the Irish around Australia since their arrival almost a month ago.

Asked to reply to the boast from his opposite number Eddie Jones that he had two fully fit players in every position ready to go, O Sullivan said: They can only put 15 players on the pitch same as us. They have more depth and they are fully loaded. But if we can play with a full deck we can play with anyone. Plus we have the support, it s going to be like a home Six Nations match for us.

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