Furlong believes Ireland in a 'different place' from RWC 2019 exit

Furlong believes Ireland in a 'different place' from RWC 2019 exit

Ireland's Tadhg Furlong, has admitted that Ireland will not get ahead of themselves when the World Cup kicks off next week.

The Irish team heads into the tournament ranked number one in the world and will have the difficult task of lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy in France.

Andy Farrell's side has beaten every team they have played against over the last 18 months and will be confident of doing the same again.

However, they will face either France or New Zealand in the quarter-finals, depending on their performance in the pool.

Ireland has not progressed beyond the quarter-finals at a Rugby World Cup, having lost to the likes of Japan and New Zealand in 2019 and 2015.

In 2019, hosts Japan pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Rugby World Cup history as they beat world number two-ranked Ireland 19-12 in Shizuoka.

Furlong, who is one of Ireland's key players, believes that the Irish team is in a very different place now and that they can get the job done when they reach that stage of the tournament.

"It does and doesn't. I know there are quite a few players there, but it's not something we talk about. It's a totally different team," Furlong said to Virgin Media. "If you look at rugby now and four years ago, globally in terms of trends and how people are playing, it's a completely different game. You just have to move on and learn the lessons from then. I'd like to think that we are in a different place going in."

Despite Ireland having defeated the likes of France and New Zealand recently, the Irish team's primary goal is to get better, according to Furlong. That confidence also will not be confused with arrogance, added the Leinster star.

"I genuinely have no idea how that ranking works. Teams go up and down and I have no clue," Furlong added. "Look, we just want to get better and see where we can take this team. It's also about the individual and where you want to take your game. We just work on ourselves. Yes, we have had good results in the past, we have a good foundation to build upon. I think we have a reasonable sense of confidence, but it's about what you put into the next game, and you have to put in the effort all over again.

Ireland kicks off their World Cup campaign in Bordeaux against Romania on Saturday, September 9.

Ireland 2023 Rugby World Cup squad

Forwards (18):
Ryan Baird, Finlay Bealham,Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Caelan Doris, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, David Kilcoyne, Jeremy Loughman, Joe McCarthy, Peter O'Mahony, Tom O’Toole, Andrew Porter, James Ryan, Dan Sheehan, Josh van der Flier.

Backs (15):
Bundee Aki, Ross Byrne, Craig Casey, Jack Crowley, Keith Earls, Jamison Gibson-Park, Mack Hansen, Robbie Henshaw, Hugo Keenan, James Lowe, Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Jimmy O’Brien, Garry Ringrose, Jonathan Sexton

Ireland Fixtures, Rugby World Cup 2023 - Pool B:

  • Ireland v Romania, Saturday 9 September, Stade de Bordeaux (2.30pm Irish time/3.30pm local time)
  • Ireland v Tonga, Saturday 16 September, Stade de la Beaujoire (8pm Irish time/9pm local time)
  • Ireland v South Africa, Saturday 23 September, Stade de France (8pm Irish time/9pm local time)
  • Ireland v Scotland, Saturday 7 October, Stade de France (8pm Irish time/9pm local time