"If I was a South African fan, I'd be leaving that Ireland game thinking, 'okay we lost, but we can beat them.'" - Darren Cave
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Former Ireland centre Darren Cave has warned his former team-mates against getting carried over their win vs South Africa in the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup.
Ireland defeated South Africa 13-8 in a titanic Stade-de-France tussle last Saturday, but it was only the pool stages. The knock-out rugby is still to be played.
And if history has taught us one thing as Irish rugby supporters, it's that there's no silverware won in the pool stages.
Ireland, let's not forget, enjoyed momentous pool stage wins over Australia and France, respectively, in the 2011 and 2015 World Cups but both of those campaigns ended in heart-ache, with quarter final defeats.
Cave has great trust in the the Ireland management team, and is sure that the team will be drilled to perfection as this tournament progresses. But he does none-the-less feel that other nations, such as South Africa, may look at our emotional celebrations after our win over the 'Boks with interest.
"A part of you thought as well," said Cave on this week's House of Rugby, "we have achieved absolutely nothing.
"How great is that for everyone else? he asked.
"Because Scotland, you can see they're trying to make it a chip on their shoulder. They are constantly referencing it.
"If you're South Africa, you're probably sitting in the dressing room going 'look at those guys, doing laps, dancing, and they've done nothing, they've done absolutely nothing."
Indeed, honing in on South Africa for a second, Cave does feel that they will take plenty of encouragement from the Irish game, despite their defeat. He does feel that their constant chopping and changing is doing more harm than good, however.
"Both sides can definitely play better.
"If I was a South African fan, I'd be leaving that Ireland game thinking, 'okay we lost, not ideal, but we can beat them.'
"If I was a South African fan, I'd probably prefer if we weren't trying all these bizarre ideas, like 'let's see if we can play four scrum halves.
"Let's see if we can get through this World Cup without playing a hooker.' I get Malcolm Marx is injured.
"But I think that came back to bite them against Ireland. I think South Africa are likely to play France, what a quarter final that will be, I wouldn't be surprised if they made a final."
As for Ireland-Scotland this Saturday, Cave reckons that despite the chip on Scotland's shoulder, Ireland will still be able to prevail.
"So as a fan, the one thing I do trust is the Irish management, I think they'll have had their few days off, and I think they'll be back with a bang this week in training.
"Ireland are better than Scotland.
"I'm not saying they're going to win, but they are a better team, and I trust that the Irish players will be in the right frame of mind, because they should know better than to treat Scotland lightly."
"This Scottish game is going to be really tough. They've a really good back-line, two of the best wingers in the world in my opinion in van der Merwe and Steyn. We saw them come unstuck against South Africa with that wide-wide game-plan, and I think they'll change things up for this Irish match."
HOUSE OF RUGBY WITH DARREN CAVE & IAN MADIGAN
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