O'Driscoll's sights set on record score

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The Independent Online

Brian O'Driscoll promises Ireland will pay Namibia a compliment at Aussie Stadium tomorrow - by thrashing them.

The Africans suffered a 60-point defeat at the hands of Argentina on their only World Cup match so far and things will not improve. The hosts, Australia, are next up after the Irish, who, O'Driscoll says, will have the All Blacks' record 145-17 victory over Japan in Bloemfontein eight years ago in mind when they go into the match.

"I remember hearing that the greatest respect New Zealand paid Japan that day was that they annihilated them," the centre said. "They didn't let up for one second and ended up scoring 145 points. That is a great philosophy and a great way to approach a game like that. If you get on top, you have to tear the opposition apart. Maybe they don't appreciate it at the time but that is probably the biggest compliment of all."

The Namibians had no answer to Argentina's forward power in Gosford four days ago and even without their injured prop, Reggie Corrigan, the Irish should have enough muscle to drive their opponents backwards this weekend.

Corrigan has failed to recover after landing heavily on his shoulder in training on Tuesday. Although the Leinster front row should be fit for the vital decisive encounter with Argentina in Adelaide on 26 October, Ireland's coach, Eddie O'Sullivan, could not see any point in taking a risk with the 32-year-old. That means a recall for Marcus Horan, who was dropped from the original line-up for tomorrow, with Ulster's Simon Best coming in as a replacement.

"We always knew Marcus would come through at some point," O'Sullivan said. "He is great at the line-out and he is exceptionally quick. His speed is the most striking aspect of his game."

Injury has again delayed Rudi van Vuuren's chance to become the first player to appear at the cricket and rugby World Cups. The Namibia stand-off was poised to complete the unique double when he was selected to play against Argentina. However, a calf muscle problem forced the all-round sportsman out of the match and it is still troubling him. Van Vuuren was selected for the 1999 World Cup but did not play a match. He completed the first half of his double when he represented the African nation at this year's cricket World Cup.

The Namibia coach, Dave Waterston, made three changes to the side beaten by the Pumas, with the flanker Wolfie Duvenhage, the winger Vincent Dreyer and the full-back Ronaldo Pedro replacing Herman Lintvelt, Melrick Africa and Morne Schreuder.

They have spent the past few days improving their scrummaging, line-outs and mauls after recruiting the former Wallabies forward Adrian Skeggs to help out. But Waterston is clearly feeling the pressure.

"I feel like I am the captain of the Titanic," he said. "We got demolished against Argentina last week, we are rated No 25 in the world and Ireland are No 3 - you can draw your own conclusions.

"Despite that, I am really enjoying the challenge of coaching a committed bunch of players, taking them to a World Cup and trying to get them to perform. With South Africa it was just fine tuning - champagne coaching. This is flat beer coaching. You get more satisfaction out of it because you are taking club players and getting them on the greatest stage in the world.

"Someday we are going to be competitive and when that day comes, the feeling will be incredible."

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