Emotional USA look to coach with inside knowledge of Ireland

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We’ve already seen tears in this Rugby World Cup but when Ireland and the United States of America meet in New Plymouth on Sunday, we can expect more.

Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 disaster and you can guarantee the USA team will give their all in the match with Ireland – and that will make it tricky for the Irish.

USA coach Eddie O’Sullivan already has in the inside track on the Irish players thanks to his time as Ireland coach, and while Ireland are 1/200 to win on Sunday, it will be a lot tougher than expected.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney has named Conor Murray at scrum-half for Ireland’s opening Rugby World Cup game against the USA after impressing with his form in training.

Kidney said: “It’s a big call given it’s our first game in the World Cup, but what he’s been doing merits his inclusion.”

Elsewhere, Keith Earls will begin on the wing ahead of Andrew Trimble, while Sean O’Brien is not being risked and is replaced by Shane Jennings at flanker.

Centre paring Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll have been passed fit to play, while Ronan O’Gara will begin his final world cup on the bench with Jonathan Sexton preferred at fly-half.

As we saw with New Zealand’s laboured win against Tonga, it’s easier said than done to get off to a flier.

Ireland have won all of their previous six games against the USA, although the last meeting between these sides in 2009 saw Ireland win by a less than convincing 27 points to 10.

The main handicap line is set at 33 with USA 1/1 to win with a +33 point start, and should the Americans keep it tight for the opening 60 minutes, the 6/4 for USA to win +27 points looks tempting.

Should the USA get the first points on the board – they are 7/4 to do so – then it could be a tough afternoon for Ireland and the 12/5 for them to win by 21-30 points looks tempting.

Ireland: G Murphy; T Bowe, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, K Earls, J Sexton, C Murray, T Court, R Best, M Ross, D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell, S Ferris, S Jennings, J Heaslip.
Replacements: J Flannery, T Buckley, D Ryan, D Leamy, E Reddan, R O’Gara, A Trimble.

USA: B Scully; T Ngwenya, P Emerick, A Suniula, J Paterson; R Suniula, M Petri; M MacDonald, P Thiel, S Pittman, J van der Giessen, H Smith, L Stanfill, T Clever (capt), N Johnson.
Replacements: C Biller, M Moeakiola, S LaValla, P Danahy, T Usasz, N Malifa, C Hawley.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.