Autumn Nations Series: Mike Catt believes Ireland can achieve ‘life-changing’ World Cup glory

Ireland assistant coach Mike Catt at training. Credit: Alamy
Ireland assistant coach Mike Catt at training. Credit: Alamy

Ireland assistant coach Mike Catt is convinced his team are heading towards a World Cup triumph similar to the one that changed his life.

Catt won the prestigious tournament in 2003 with England after a narrow win against Australia, who hosted the Rugby World Cup that year.

Ireland are currently ranked as the best side in the world and look in great form with no intention of stopping after a strong Test year in 2022 that saw them beat the All Blacks in New Zealand as well as South Africa in the Autumn Nations Series.

Continue growth

However, Catt’s side has become notorious for peaking between World Cups and dropping off at the event itself. The assistant coach believes the team needs to continue growing and searching for consistency.

“Times have changed considerably since 20 years ago, the whole game has changed, but I think the pathway we’re on, we’re going in the right direction,” he said.

“The team has to be able to adapt. There are three, four, five teams that are capable of adapting and winning anything.

“Where we’re at at the moment, I think everybody is enjoying the environment we’re in, enjoying what we’re trying to achieve.

“But we’ve got to be a lot more consistent in certain areas of our game and that needs to start tomorrow night.”

Catt admits winning the World Cup changed his life and has always valued encounters against Australia since.

“It was great, it was life-changing really,” he said.

“Every time I played against Australia or was involved in coaching against Australia, they’ve always been great games.

“Very, very few games you play against Australia are dull. There’s always something happening, it’s always very exciting.

“They’ve got some quality players and it’s taking on the occasion and really enjoying it.”

Finishing a promising year

Ireland are on course to match a 12 consecutive game win streak at home if they defeat Australia this weekend and would become the first team since England in 2022 to beast the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies in a calendar year.

“That would be nice, wouldn’t it? I wasn’t part of that team (in 2002), by the way,” he added.

“It will be great for us to finish this campaign on a good win and putting a brilliant performance together.

“The crowd have been brilliant for us. We can go up another noise level on Saturday night.”

READ MORE: Two Cents: Five players who have shone in the Autumn Nations Series, including some World Rugby Player of the Year absentees

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