Mendeika: Ireland must open with a win

Warrington centre James Mendeika believes that Ireland must win tonight’s World Cup opener against Fiji to realise their aim of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

The Irish were very much the surprise package of the 2008 tournament but with England and Australia also in their group, anything less than a win will effectively dash their dreams.

“There have been a lot of changes within the squad and the staff since 2008 but having seen how we did in 2008 we are looking to match that at least, if not go one better,” he said.

“We got to a certain point five years ago so there is no reason why we can’t do it again.

“The first game is always vital but being in a group with England and Australia where we play them after Fiji does make the first game more important.

“The Fiji game is obviously the priority, but we have been preparing our setup in training for our game in general, so we will be in a better position when the Australia and England games come around.

“I think we all know what Fiji bring. They will bring athletes, but they have also got a lot of skill in their backline. I feel that we have also got a lot of skill, brawn and speed though.

“But if the result doesn’t go our way, we won’t be counting ourselves out, we will still have a chance. We are all feeling really confident and positive.”

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