Haggerty - Ireland can progress
Ireland's pack are planning to run rings around their heavyweight Samoan opponents, says Gareth Haggerty.
Last Updated: 04/11/08 10:54am
Ireland's pack are planning to run rings around their heavyweight Samoan opponents during the Pool C decider on Wednesday, says Gareth Haggerty.
The Irish lost 22-20 to Tonga in their opening game but will still progress to the next phase if they beat Samoa by more than six points.
Samoa will be without Leeds prop Kylie Leuluai because of suspension but, with the likes of his Rhinos team-mate Ali Lauititi, Bradford's David Solomona and the Puleta brothers - Frank and St Helens-bound Tony - they are still expected to dominate Ireland's under-size forwards.
"Samoa are a lot bigger team than Tonga but we know a lot more about them because there are more Super League players in there," said Harlequins prop Haggerty.
"We've got to be strong up front but with the likes of Eamon O'Carroll and Bob Beswick, we have a good pack.
"Hopefully after 20 minutes our fitness can kick in. They are all 100 kilos whereas we've got a few lads who are lighter on their feet
"Our training has been a lot harder than I expected and the coaching staff have got us really fit."
Dublin-born front rower Wayne Kerr, 24, will be on the bench in place of veteran Mick Cassidy, the former Wigan and England forward who misses out through injury.
Although he only took up rugby league three years ago, Kerr is tipped by Haggerty to make an impact on his World Cup debut.
"He's got a lot about him," he said. "He's taken a bit of time to settle in I think - that's why he didn't play in the first game.
"But his attitude has been tremendous and he is raring to go. We're expecting some big hits from him."
Ireland, who were quarter-finalists in the last World Cup in 2000, are playing for a place against Fiji or Scotland in the semi-final qualifier next Monday and Haggerty is confident they can reach their six-point victory target.
"We're hoping we can win by more than that so that we're not hanging on in the last few minutes," he added.
"We are hoping we can defend like we did against Tonga. They scored some tries through kicks but, if we close them down and stop the offloads, we will be fine.
"There were a lot of positives from the Tonga game but there were also a lot of negatives.
"I thought we lost the game rather than them winning it."