Irish say Wallabies win is just the start
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TAUPO, 19 Sept. - In an ominous warning for Ireland's Pool C opponents, backs coach Alan Gaffney said the men in green would only get better after their shock win over Australia.
Gaffney also said he believed the Wallabies did not show the Irish enough respect heading into Saturday's Rugby World Cup 2011 match in Auckland, won 15-6 by his team.
Led by man-of-the-match Cian Healy and fellow forwards Sean O'Brien, Stephen Ferris and Paul O'Connell, Ireland outmuscled the Tri Nations champions, nullifying their star playmakers Quade Cooper, Will Genia and Kurtley Beale.
"I think we can play better than that," said Gaffney, an Australian, at a press conference on Sunday.
"There's a lot left in our attack. I think we've got a lot more to offer. We've shown that in the past. We've got the capacity to play and we want to play."
Gaffney said the Wallabies, missing key players David Pocock, Stephen Moore and Digby Ioane, may have underestimated the Irish, who will take on Russia in Rotorua next Sunday.
Lid on expectations
"I possibly think, and this is not being disrespectful, but I don't know if they did quite show us enough respect.
"They rely very much on the individuals, Beale and Cooper and Genia doing what they do. And they've got a lot of quality there. But full credit to our guys, we battled through and stuck it through and played a very strong game.
"It's a huge win. Coming down and winning in the southern hemisphere is not something Irish sides have done in recent years.
"We do regard it as a monumental win. It ranks very highly in the games I've been involved in."
With Ireland now likely to top Pool C and face Wales in the quarter-finals, team manager Paul McNaughton was doing his best to keep a lid on expectations.
"People are talking about bonus points here and bonus points there (but we're) just halfway there," he said. "We really have to move on to Russia and Italy as well. That is the focus."
Second row O'Connell and inside centre Gordon D'Arcy will both have scans on hamstring injuries on Monday but otherwise Irish eyes are smiling.