“It will be unbelievable” | Craig Casey on potential World Cup debut

The Limerick man has played twelve times for Ireland, but has yet to feature at the World Cup.

Limerick native Craig Casey has said “it will be unbelievable” if he gets the chance to make his World Cup debut against Tonga this weekend as Ireland look to make it two form two at the tournament.

The Munster man has played twelve times for Ireland, but did not feature in the World Cup opener against Romania as he awaits his debut at the biggest competition.

While Casey revealed the team hasn’t yet been revealed to the players, he is hoping he will get his chance when Ireland run out in Nantes this Saturday.

“Hopefully, if I get the chance I’m really looking forward to it, it’ll be great. There’s a few family members out, they’re following the team for a few weeks, it’ll be unbelievable to make my World Cup debut if it happens.”

2 September 2023; Craig Casey during an Ireland rugby open training session at Stade Vallée du Cher in Tours, France. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Casey earned his first Ireland cap in 2021, in a victory against Italy in the Six Nations, and has since made twelve appearances under Andy Farrell.

While the 24-year-old did not see the field against Romania last time out, he admits that he knows he’s “not going to play every minute,” but will be “ready when the opportunity does come.”

“When you’re part of a squad only 23 can play, going into a tournament you know you’re not going to play every minute, I think every player knows that so you have to be ready for when the opportunity does come and when it does come you have to take it with both hands and cement your place in the weekend after that.

“Everyone is itching to go, even the lads that played last week are itching to get back onto the field, it’s a real buzz around the squad.”

As Casey hopes the meeting with Tonga will provide a chance for his RWC debut, former Munster man Malakai Fekitoa will be lining out for the Tongans.

Fekitoa started in Munster’s 19-14 win over the Stormers in the final of the URC, which was the last of his 19 appearances for the Red Army.

The Tongan spent the 2022/23 season at Munster, playing alongside Casey, who described him as “humble,” saying he is “always trying to help young lads get better.”

“Really quiet guy, humble fella, lovely fella to be around, always trying to help young lads get better, drive standards, bring new things into the environment that he’s picked up along the way. Very family orientated as well I would say he’s just had a new child, a lovely fella to be around.”

Ireland clash with Tonga in the second game of their Rugby World Cup campaign, with kick off at 8pm (9pm local time) in Nantes on Saturday.

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