Rugby World Cup: the pundit’s view – Alan Quinlan

The ITV commentator and former Ireland flanker gives his views on the forthcoming tournament

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Player to watch?

Conor Murray is a player I’ll be keeping an eye on because no one had heard of him a season ago and now he’s in the Ireland squad and off to the World Cup in the scrum-half position, ahead of lots of well-known names. He’s a fresh new talent, enthusiastic, exciting and quick. 

Who will win?

Ireland, no doubt about it at all, they’ll storm the competition… no, I’m only joking. I think New Zealand will win. They must be everyone’s favourites going into the tournament and I think that they’ll be hard to beat on home soil if they can get the team psychology right.

Mr Indestructible

Willem Alberts – the big back-row man from South Africa. He’s like a machine with his bone-crunching tackles and pounding runs. It can take three defenders to stop him when he gets going.

Secret weapon

Sean O’Brien of Ireland is one to keep an eye on. He’s had a magnificent year…a tough, young second row who’s fast and becoming well-known for his barging runs and fierce rucking. 

X factor

Cian Healy, Ireland’s loose head prop, who’s also a top DJ (known by the alias DJ Church). He’s really into his music and has DJ-ed at the Oxegen festival at Punchestown for the past couple of years. 

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