Ireland after sustained success

Shane Jennings insists Ireland's historic win over Australia will mean very little unless his side make it through to the World Cup Final. [more]

Ireland after sustained success

Shane Jennings insists Ireland’s historic win over Australia will mean very little unless his side make it through to the World Cup Final.

Last weekend’s stunning 15-6 triumph over the newly crowned Tri Nations kings has set the Irish on a potential all-northern hemisphere path to the game’s showpiece event at the end of October.

A likely last eight meeting with Wales could be followed by a semi-final clash with England, France or Scotland, leaving that particular part of the draw there for the taking.

And while Jennings and co have had plenty of praise thrown their way following the win in Auckland, the Leinster openside says the squad aren’t getting carried away with the result.

"It's a pool game and that's all it was," said Jennings, who was a late call up to the World Cup squad after Lions tourist David Wallace was ruled out through injury.

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"I'm not playing it down – it was a brilliant and massive win for Ireland. But it was just a pool game.

"We want to win pool games and quarter-finals, but people have to understand that we're in this to win trophies.

"That's the beauty of this squad – there are a lot of players who have been successful at provincial and international level."

Ireland went into the Pool C clash with the Wallabies on the back of an unconvincing win over the United States and four defeats in a row in their World Cup warm up fixtures but Jennings claims the squad never doubted their ability to beat the Aussies.

Victory may have come as a major surprise to most but to the Irish squad it was nothing more than they expected.

"Most people in the world saw it as an upset against Australia, but in the squad we know when we're playing well or going all right," added Jennings.

"We weren't a million miles from getting things right in previous games. If we'd got one or two more tries against the USA it would have looked very different, so we knew we weren't too far off it.

"Because of the quality of player in the squad we're always capable of producing results like that. The senior players did a lot of talking during the build-up and they backed that up by playing well.

"We always felt we could compete with anyone in the world but this has definitely given us a bit of extra belief.

"It's an obvious comment but while everyone says you learn a lot from defeat, you learn a lot from wins as well. It gives you confidence and is reassuring that you're on the right track."

Next up for the Irish is Sunday’s fixture with Russia in Rotorua, a game in which Jennings and his team-mates will be keen to prove that the win over Australia was no fluke.

Sunday is all about building on the momentum they now have behind them and showing the globe that world-class performances are not just a once-in-a-while occurrence with this Irish side.

"We did a lot of good things Australia and we must repeat that.

"But it's gone now and people have to get over that because there's no point getting two wins and then falling over your next two opponents.

"Nobody in the squad wants to be known as hit and miss, producing one good performance and then failing to follow it up.

"We definitely have the ability to reproduce that performance. But if we talk about it, we'll have to back it up.

"Russia are a physical side with a strong set piece and some dangerous runners.

"We've got to play Russia and then Italy, who we didn't deserve to beat in Rome in the Six Nations."

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