Ireland focused on Fiji
At Skilled Park, November 10, KO: 8.55am
Last Updated: 09/11/08 5:56pm
Ireland: one win away from semi-final spot
Ireland captain Andy Kelly has warned against complacency ahead of Monday's semi-final qualifier against Fiji at Skilled Park.
"We understand that the Fijians are a good side and, in qualifying, they have come through a similar route as ourselves, being unfancied and the surprise package."
Andy Kelly Quotes of the week
The Irish finished top of Pool C after victories over Tonga and Samoa and will set up a dream semi-final against hosts Australia if they can beat Pool B winners Fiji.
But Kelly is wary of his side losing focus on the immediate task in hand.
"We have got to go back to basics and concentrate on getting the hard work done before we can start dreaming about a semi-final against Australia," he said.
"We don't want to get caught out by being complacent.
"We understand that the Fijians are a good side and, in qualifying, they have come through a similar route as ourselves, being unfancied and the surprise package.
"So, when we meet them, we want to make sure we go through the process without looking too far ahead."
After producing the outstanding result of the first round of games - a 42-6 rout of France - Fiji were brought back down to earth with an 18-16 defeat by Scotland, who gained their first ever World Cup win.
However, in Wes Naiqama, Jarryd Hayne, Semi Tadulala and teenage wing sensation Akuila Uate, Fiji have an array of natural talent and potential match-winners.
"We have looked at their games against France and Scotland and that will continue as we head towards the game to make sure the players are fully aware of the prowess of this Fijian side," added Kelly.
"Again we know there is going to be a challenge in terms of the physicality of the game but, having come through tough tests against Samoa and Tonga, that won't be a surprise to us.
"We've just got to make sure we are prepared to cope with whatever football they throw at us.
"The spirit in the camp is fantastic, the players really are a tight-knit group."
Ireland received good support in Parramatta for their group games and Kelly is confident the team's success in Australia will provide a fillip for the fledgling competition back home.
"We have all been blown away with the messages of support coming from back home," he continued.
"When the players get a spare moment they go to the RLI website and get a real feel for the support and momentum being generated.
"Parents, friends and family are also keeping us abreast of the coverage coming through from back home and that support means a lot to us all."