Rugby World Cup 2011: Ireland overcome USA
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll made no excuses for his side after their unimpressive victory over USA
Captain Brian O’Driscoll admitted Ireland must improve after his side struggled to victory over the USA in their Rugby World Cup opener on Sunday.
Ireland edged to the win with a nervy display strewn with handling errors amid wet conditions in New Plymouth.
Leinster winger Tommy Bowe scored a try in each half, while hooker Rory Best also crossed the line after the interval to hand O’Driscoll’s side victory, despite Paul Emerick’s late consolation try for the USA.
Skipper O’Driscoll was quick to concede his side did not perform at their best and called for an improvement ahead of their next Pool C clash against Australia in Auckland on Saturday.
“We didn’t play well, we had to fight for our win,” said O’Driscoll. “I suppose we got the win but we have a hell of a lot to improve on. We couldn’t get any continuity. We were a little bit loose.”
He added: “It’s good to get 80 minutes under your belt now we’ve got a big challenge at the weekend against Australia. We can work on bad aspects of our game during the week.”
Ireland head coach Declan Kidney preferred to look ahead to next weekend’s test rather than dwell on an underwhelming display.
“Another big one [versus Australia] – that is why you get into it,” said Kidney. “It’s a six-day turnaround to Eden Park.”
He added: “Maybe the man above makes it a bit dryer and we can play a little more ball and we can bring more variation into our play.”
Ireland: Murphy, Bowe, O’Driscoll, D’Arcy, Earls, Sexton, Murray, Court, Best, Ross, O’Callaghan, O’Connell, Ferris, Jennings, Heaslip.
Replacements: Flannery, Buckley, Ryan, Leamy, Reddan, O’Gara, Trimble.
USA: Scully, Ngwenya, Emerick, A. Suniula, Paterson, R Suniula, Petri, MacDonald, Thiel, Pittman, van der Giessen, Smith, Stanfill, Clever, Johnson.
Replacements: Biller, Moeakiola, LaValla, Danahy, Usasz, Malifa, Hawley.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)