Craig Gilroy was so wracked with nerves before Ireland's record 46-24 victory over Argentina on Saturday that he considered pulling out of it and driving home to Belfast. The 21-year-old Ulster winger proceeded to run in a try and help create three more in a dream Test debut.
It was a vital win that guaranteed Ireland a place among the second tier of seeds for the 2015 World Cup draw next week and ended a five-Test losing streak.
The magnitude of the occasion dawned on Gilroy as he battled to keep his pre-match anxiety in check. "This was my first cap and then there was the rankings issue on top of that, so it was a huge game for Ireland," he said. "I was extremely nervous to the point where I thought about jumping in my car and driving back to Belfast. I was more nervous than I'd ever been.
"But I'd received loads of messages from family and friends and they said 'don't put any more pressure on yourself, just be yourself and enjoy it'."
Italy's experienced winger and best place-kicker Mirco Bergamasco looks likely to miss next year's Six Nations after it was revealed yesterday that he would be out for as much as five months following knee surgery. Bergamasco fractured a kneecap in Saturday's 22-19 defeat by Australia. Prop Andrea Lo Cicero also broke ribs on Saturday and should return in 45 days.
Australia's Quade Cooper, who missed the match as he recuperates from a knee injury, is set to follow close friend and World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams into the professional boxing ring.
Cooper is listed as 92kg on his Queensland Reds profile, just over boxing's cruiserweight limit but putting him in the same heavyweight category as All Black Williams.
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