Ireland out to change World Cup story after 2019 disappointment – Tadhg Beirne

Tadhg Beirne admits the scars of the last World Cup took a long time to heal and insists Ireland will do everything possible to avoid making the same mistakes.

Andy Farrell’s side go into the tournament in France at the top of the world rankings and buoyed by clinching a Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam on the back of a historic tour success in New Zealand.

Ireland were buzzing with similar belief under Joe Schmidt in 2019 before suffering an emphatic quarter-final exit to the All Blacks following a shock pool-stage loss to hosts Japan.

Munster lock Beirne believes the tone for that forgettable campaign was set during an underwhelming build-up, which included a record drubbing by England, and is determined to help prevent a repeat outcome as he prepares for Saturday’s warm-up clash with Italy.

“It was really disappointing to be honest, we had such expectations of ourselves and we probably felt like we didn’t fire on all cylinders,” he said of the 2019 tournament.

“Overall, just disappointment from the get-go.

“Even when you talk about warm-ups we didn’t particularly play well in them, did we? And that fed into the World Cup in terms of our performances over there.

Tadhg Beirne, fourth left, and Ireland suffered a quarter-final exit in Japan four years ago

Tadhg Beirne, fourth left, and Ireland suffered a quarter-final exit in Japan four years ago (Adam Davy/PA)

“I think afterwards it took a long, long time to get over it so I’m certainly hoping that’s not the case this year and we’ll be doing everything we can to change that.”

Ireland begin the World Cup on September 9 against Romania in Bordeaux.

After hosting Italy, preparations continue when England visit the Aviva Stadium a fortnight later before a fixture against Samoa in Bayonne the following weekend provides a final chance for fine-tuning.

Beirne says the three upcoming matches are far from friendlies and acknowledges that any player not up to scratch is at risk of being dropped when head coach Farrell cuts his squad from 42 to 33 at the end of the month.

“You can certainly lose your spot in a World Cup squad if you don’t play well,” said the British and Irish Lion, who was restricted to a peripheral role for his country in Japan in 2019.

“As a squad we have a record at home that we are proud of at the moment, we are playing a certain type of rugby that we want to continue doing.

“We are looking at it very much as we would a Six Nations game or a November international game.

“It’s a Test match we want to win and we are going out there to prove a point, 100 per cent.”

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