Kidney focus switches to Italy after Russia romp

IRELAND (62) vs RUSSIA (12)

IRELAND coach Declan Kidney is refusing to take Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final presence for granted despite yesterday’s crushing win over Russia.

Kidney sent out a largely second string side following last weekend’s win over Australia, but the understudies ran in nine tries and Ronan O’Gara landed 15 points with the boot to secure a bonus point victory.

The Irish now head Pool C by three points, but Kidney is aware the job is far from complete with a heavy defeat in Sunday’s final group game against Italy a scenario that would see his side make an early exit.

“Australia was the big game everyone was talking about, but we always knew beating Italy would be vital,” said Kidney. “Because of the points structure we had to pick up maximum points in our first three games to get out of the group at this stage.

“The fact we’re in a winner-takes-all situation against Italy makes it like a cup final. We know we could be going home on the plane the following day too. We’re under no illusions.”