The second round of Rugby World Cup fixtures delivered no shortage of talking points, with England losing to Wales, Namibia disappointing the handicappers with a spirited display against the All Blacks and Keith Earls equalling a World Cup record for Ireland.
The magnitude of these occurrences – some more than others – have not been lost on former Ireland international Stephen Ferris and the 35-cap Shamrock man sat down with Ladbrokes News over the weekend to reveal his thoughts on all the latest action.
Read on to see what the 30-year-old has to say on his former team-mates, where his money is going this weekend and why England are not out of it yet.
Ladbrokes News: Tommy Bowe stepped up for Ireland in the win over Romania – does he now deserve a starting place?
Stephen Ferris: Ireland produced a great performance and every player put their hand up for selection for the next game against Italy. Tommy didn’t put a foot wrong, and as I say to everyone, when has Tommy Bowe ever let Ireland down when it matters? Never! He would always make my starting 15
LN: Keith Earls has now equalled Brian O’Driscoll’s World Cup record for tries scored – how good a finisher is he?
SF: Keith is a great finisher. He has speed to burn and is very evasive. Give this guy the ball in space against any team and he will cause them problems. He’s also a top guy. Will he be top World Cup try scorer for Ireland? I think so.
LN: Italy will be more of a test than Romania, will we see the true strength of the Irish team at this point, or will it be another walk in the park?
SF: I think the game against Italy will be more difficult than the previous two matches. Italy got a win under their belt and will come out fighting on Sunday. Having said that, I feel Ireland will be too strong and will win comfortably in the end. If I was tipping a winning margin I’d say Ireland to win by 20 or more.
LN: You successfully picked Chris Henry to cross the line last week – where’s your smart money going this weekend?
SF: It has been a running theme through this World Cup that the back row forwards are scoring tries off the back of mauls. I believe Sean O’Brien will be playing at number seven against Italy and will cross the line at some stage during the game. For first try scorer it’s difficult. It’s either wingers or back rowers. It’s hard to look past Keith Earls after his try scoring last weekend
LN: England v Wales was a cracker! Is that the English out or can they beat the Aussies?
SF: That’s definitely not the English out of the World Cup. They can bounce back against the Aussies and leave the group wide open again. They have a good enough squad; they just need to believe in themselves
LN: You’ll be in the stands for the Italy game – how has your pre-match meal changed since you left the game.
SF: It used to be pasta and chicken. Now that I’m on the other side of the fence though it will be a pie and a couple of pints … Oh the joys of retirement!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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