So the Wallabies are playing Ireland on Saturday, and you have no idea about Ireland, its culture and its players.
Well fear not, as G&GR are here to help with the second of our patented World Cup Watching Guides.
Are they any good? Yeah. They are our biggest challenger in the pool stages, and have been ranked as high as third in the IRB rankings (the latest being in 2006). Despite clinching a grand slam in 2009 and looking pretty good in 2010, they have struggled for form in 2011 and their recent win against the USA broke a four match losing streak. But on their day they can turn it on and have a proud history of scaring the living shit out of Australia in World Cup rugby.
Paul O’Connell – The big lock was in fine form against the USA and will come out firing on Saturday. He’s played 85 tests and captained the British and Irish Lions on their recent trip to South Africa. Put simply he is a hard bastard and will cause havoc at the ruck and lineout if the Aussies give him an inch.
Brian O’Driscoll – Remember this bloke? Has seemingly been around forever, and has certainly not lost the ability to trouble an opposition backline in attack and defence. He has looked a bit off the pace in his last few games though, and it will be interesting to see if he can raise his game when it matters.
Who is their coach? Local boy Declan Kidney, who got the gig after coaching Munster to the 2008 Heineken Cup.
Any bits of trivia I can drop in the pub to make me look like I know my stuff? Certainly. Here are some tasty morsels:
‘Johnny Sexton is a confidence kicker and it is crucial for his often-shaky radar to be working if the Irish are to be any chance of winning’
‘Leinster were the standout team in Europe this year, and they provide 9 of the starting 15’
‘Ireland are the only one of the Home Nations never to have made the semi-finals’
‘Last time we faced the Irish in a World Cup was back in 2003, where we won 17-16 in a tight one’
What should I eat? Try a delicious medley of traditional Irish potato dishes- Champ (mashed potato with butter, milk and spring onions), Boxty (a type of potato pancake) and Colcannon (mashed potato with cabbage and butter). A great carb-heavy way to spend Saturday night.
What should I drink? Come on, this is a no-brainer. The perfect accompaniment to a traditional Irish potato medley is a tall frothy glass of Guinness. If you can somehow dye it green then more power to you.
I am going to the game. Do you have any rugby-related Gaelic phrases I can hurl from the stands? Of course, courtesy of our good friends at Babelfish:
Tá tú ach buille díreach an Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá, anois cheapann tú gur féidir leat a chur ar an Wallabies? Le do thoil.
You only just beat the USA, now you think you can take on the Wallabies? Please.
Tá súil agam go mbainfidh tú taitneamh as do dhá sheachtain tar éis a bheith ag féachaint ar amharc-knocked amach sa cheathrú. Arís.
I hope you enjoy your two weeks of sight-seeing after being knocked out in the quarters. Again.
Tá do gheilleagar stagnating, agus mar sin tá do líne ar ais
Your economy is stagnating, and so is your backline
Cén fáth nach bhfuil tú ach a thabhairt suas agus post a fháil ag tarraingt beers i Bondi mar chuid is mó de do dtíre
Why don’t you just give up and get a job pulling beers in Bondi like the rest of your countrymen
Tá siad a dhéanamh air an lá ar fad, réiteoir
They’ve been doing it all day, referee
So now you should be prepared to watch the Wallabies play Ireland. Bring on Saturday!