Ireland rugby icons Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip took a road trip to a Japanese garden as the Irish prepare to face Japan in the Rugby World Cup.
Ireland got their tournament off to a flying start with a dominant 27-3 win over Scotland, but Heaslip believes that Japan’s home advantage may mean the hosts provide a sterner test.
“With the Irish hat back on me now, I would definitely be scared,” he said, speaking on behalf of Land Rover, Official Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019.
“Japan, they’re going to have at least 60-70 per cent of the crowd – the Irish people always travel and we always get amazing turnouts.
“But when you have that majority crowd, when you need that energy boost, the crowd give it to you in spadefuls.”
Perhaps surprisingly O’Driscoll, who is Ireland’s leading appearance and try scorer, has backed England to win the tournament.
“Im gonna go with England,” he said when quizzed on his favourite for the tournament.
“I just think that what they have shown over the course of the last seven or eight months and how they’re building even this summer.
“I’ve been incredibly impressed with their ability to mix the game up, their ability to play with sleight of hand, particularly amongst their tight five and their forwards, that’s a new dimension brought to their game.
“They’ll need a little bit of luck but they’ve got the firepower to get this done.”
Meanwhile, Heaslip believes that England’s Manu Tuilagi has what it takes to take the tournament by storm.
“I thought he [Tuilagi] was just a big smash merchant, but I was blown away with the skills and the footballing ability that he actually has.
“To see him and to see the glimpses that he has shown in the last couple of games excites me to see what he’s going to do at the World Cup.”
Land Rover is official Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019. With over 20 years of heritage supporting rugby at all levels, Land Rover is celebrating what makes rugby, rugby. #LandRoverRugby