One Irish player was sleeping with the enemy at the last World Cup 3 years ago

One Irish player was sleeping with the enemy at the last World Cup

A week before Ireland's greatest ever World Cup victory and two of their vaunted back row were out, letting off steam.

Anybody that was in Eden Park, on September 17, 2011, will recount the full-blooded manner of Ireland's 15-6 win over Australia at the Rugby World Cup.

While Johnny Sexton and Ronan O'Gara shared the scoring burden, and Conor Murray came of age, the memory that stands out from the match is Stephen Ferris rag-dolling Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia back down the pitch.

Rugby World Cup Preview 17/9/2015 2011 Rugby World Cup Australia vs Ireland Will Genia under pressure from Stephen Ferris Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

In his recently released autobiography, Man and Ball, Ferris recounts his experiences of that game, and the tournament as a whole.

In one of the more enlightening passages of the book, the former Ulster flanker describes a night out in New Plymouth, six days before that famous win.

Ferris hit the town with Sean O'Brien and, by his account, a fun night was had by all.

I bump into a lad who is dressed in an all-in-one spandex bodysuit. The green part of the tricolour; his two mates are the white and orange. He lets out a roar and peels back the hood.

‘Jesus hell John, what about ya?’

It is John Kerins, a lad from Cork that I had played with for Ireland Youths.

I catch up with John and his mates and end up chatting with a group of girls, a couple of whom are Americans.

New Plymouth is not the type of place where you can walk out and get a taxi; they are in short supply. When Sean and I go to leave, with the American girls for company, we have no luck getting one.

We have only had a few beers and have our wits about us. We have a massive game against Australia the following week. We eventually flag a taxi and go back to the [hotel].

I send a text to my room-mate. ‘ROG, I’ve got a girl back. Any chance of you fucking off?’

He texts back, ‘No worries mate.’

He gets his bags and moves out of there pretty quickly. He texts Drico: ‘Big man’s got a girl back, any chance I can bunk in with you?’ 

He does the right thing. Next day, I buy him lunch.

Myself and Seanie are back on the mission to ensure we play well against Australia.


*Man and Ball: My Autobiography is available and in stores now