Ireland vs Italy

Eagles weigh in on scheduling uproar

Tue, 27 Sep 2011 00:00
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The United States Eagles bowed out of the World Cup on Tuesday with a 27-10 loss to Italy amid an uproar over scheduling as they played their fourth match in 16 days.

The United States Eagles bowed out of the World Cup on Tuesday with a 27-10 loss to Italy amid an uproar over scheduling as they played their fourth match in 16 days.

"It does takes its toll, there's no question. It's a hard slog," said US coach Eddie O'Sullivan, who has previously experienced a more gentle draw when he guided Ireland at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

"When you get down to the back end of the pool games, a number of games in a short space of time, you pick up injuries, fatigue.

"All those games against tier ones (established teams) are real killers in terms of what they take out of the team physically and mentally, so I think we're beginning to see daylight appearing now in some other results," he added.

The television demand for leading teams to play at peak times at weekends has left the lesser sides to fill the mid-week roster, playing games as little as four days apart.

Furious Samoan midfielder Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu created an uproar by comparing the treatment of tier-two sides to "slavery, like the holocaust, like apartheid".

His outburst came after Samoa, with a four-day turnaround, lost narrowly 17-10 to a refreshed Wales coming off a seven-day break.

World Cup organisers considered Fuimaono-Sapolu's comments "inappropriate" but took no further action after he apologised.

Scotland coach Andy Robinson underscored the value of a long recovery time when questioned about his side having just three days off between Romania and Georgia, and then 10 days to recuperate before facing Argentina.

"We’ve had two tough games, so we need this break," he said.

Italy coach Nick Mallet plans only one training run in the five days before their crucial match against Ireland to decide the qualifiers from Pool C.

Former All Black Frank Bunce, who is of Samoan descent, said the short turnaround for tier-two teams penalised those "least equipped" to handle the situation, and that was reflected on the field.

"We've seen at World Cup after World Cup they start well, but tend to drop off because you can't keep that intensity up when you have to play again so soon," Bunce said.

But O'Sullivan accepted there was no easy solution given the demands on completing the tournament of 48 matches within an acceptable timeframe.

"I'd like to have more time between games... (but) we knew the plan coming in and we had a strategy for dealing with it and I'm pretty pleased that strategy worked pretty well," he said.

The United States beat Russia and ran close to tier one sides Ireland (22-10) and Italy, with their only severe hiding being a 67-5 loss to Australia when O'Sullivan elected to rest all his top players.


Ireland vs Italy
sast: 17h45 | local: 19h45

  • 10 | 6
Sun, 04 October 2015
Zebre v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Tue, 06 October 2015
Canada v Romania 15h45 Leicester
Fiji v Uruguay 19h00 Milton Keynes
Wed, 07 October 2015
South Africa v United States 15h45 London
Namibia v Georgia 19h00 Exeter
Fri, 09 October 2015
Pumas v Blue Bulls 16h00 Mbombela Stadium
Western Province v EP Kings 16h00 Newlands
New Zealand v Tonga 19h00 Newcastle
Sat, 10 October 2015
Golden Lions v Griquas 12h00 Ellis Park
Samoa v Scotland 13h30 Newcastle
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 14h05 Bloemfontein
Australia v Wales 15h45 London
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
Sun, 11 October 2015
Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
Italy v Romania 13h30 Exeter
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 13
England 3 1 0 2 6
Fiji 3 0 0 3 0
Uruguay 2 0 0 2 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa 3 2 0 1 11
Scotland 3 2 0 1 10
Japan 3 2 0 1 8
Samoa 3 1 0 2 4
United States 2 0 0 2 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 14
Argentina 3 2 0 1 10
Tonga 3 1 0 2 6
Georgia 3 1 0 2 4
Namibia 2 0 0 2 0
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
France 3 3 0 0 14
Ireland 2 2 0 0 10
Italy 2 1 0 1 4
Canada 3 0 0 3 1
Romania 2 0 0 2 0