Ireland opens their World Cup on September 11 against a USA team with nothing to lose that will also be playing on the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
The Eagles will be fired up. Ireland, with many players facing their former coach, USA Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan, will have their own motivations above and beyond the need to win in a World Cup match.
"Eddie's done a tremendous job with Ireland over the years, but it's not really a massive factor for us, we just have to play the opposition,” said Ireland’s Geordan Murphy. "He's probably got a lot of inside knowledge on the way our guys like to play and I'm sure he'll be tipping his team off to our strengths and weaknesses, so we've got to do our homework on those guys and give them the full respect that they deserve."
"Today we knew this was the start of the preparation week and training went very well this morning, everyone was clued in and now we know it's game time,” added Rory Best. "We had two reasonable run-outs before today, but there's no doubt today, you could feel it, you could see it, there was a big step up in intensity, everyone knew: 'game week' and this is why we're here."
Both teams are aware of the date.
"Motivation isn't going to be an issue for these lads,” said O’Sullivan. “They're always easy to fire up. It's going to be emotional I think. For me, part of my job is to contain the emotion. If they get too emotional, they'll make mistakes, and if they make mistakes they'll pay a big price."
"Obviously they're going to be charged and the first 10 minutes I'm sure will reflect that,” said Best. "From an Irish point of view we have to make sure that we're able to match their physicality and intensity, especially in that first 10 minutes."