Ireland will have to face the might of France in the Rugby World Cup again – but captain Brian O’Driscoll has all but ruled himself out of the 2015 clash in England.
Like coach Declan Kidney, whose contract expires at the end of the forthcoming Six Nations championship, O’Driscoll doesn’t know if he will be around for the 2015 RWC.
He admitted at Monday’s draw in London that he is unlikely to play in a tournament that will also see Ireland face Italy, Canada or the U.S. and the runner-up from a qualifying group containing Georgia, Romania, Spain, Russia, Portugal and Belgium.
O’Driscoll will be 36 by the time the next World Cup kicks off and admitted, “It’s weird, coming in I was very relaxed, no pressure’s on it because I don’t for a second anticipate that I’ll have any involvement.
“But something stirs you deep down. I think it’s probably 18 months too far.”
If Ireland then qualify from the group in second place they will more than likely face the All-Blacks in the quarter-finals.
Captain O’Driscoll added, “We’ll have plenty of practice in the upcoming Six Nations. The realization is that it’s still three years away. The draw is set in stone now but there’s a lot of rugby to play before we get to England 2015.
“We’ve played against the Romanias and Georgias and we’ve got our summer tour of America next year. We’re definitely going to know our opponents.
“The Six Nations in the World Cup year will heat up nicely when we play France and Italy. I’ve seen Italy beat teams and France are very good at World Cups. It’s far from a fait accompli that you’re in the knock out stages that’s for sure.
“We’re definitely capable of beating any team on our day. But it’s just a case of making sure your consistent in all four games.”
Pool A: Australia, England, Wales, Oceania 1, playoff winner;
Pool B: South Africa, Samoa, Scotland, Asia 1, Americas 2;
Pool C: New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga, Europe 1, Africa 1;
Pool D: France, Ireland, Italy, Canada or U.S., Europe 2.