Don't reduce WC size to 10 teams: Birrell

Don't reduce WC size to 10 teams: Birrell

 South Africa’s assistant coach Adrian Birrell wants the decision to cut the next World Cup to 10 teams from 14 to be reversed, saying he did not want his former wards at Ireland to be left out.

Birrell, who coached Ireland for four years from 2007 to 2011, said the non-Test playing nation had come a long way since his time with them.

“It’s definitely not fair to kick them out,” he said ahead of Tuesday’s Pool B clash between South Africa and Ireland at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.

“Just look at their record. They’ve continually knocked down the door and they keep getting shut out.

“They are angry and I understand that. I think it’s a driving factor for them and makes them play even harder to prove full-member teams wrong.

“When I started in Ireland there was probably one or two players who were fully professional, now they’re all professionals.

“They punch above their weight and I am not surprised at all. Every World Cup they seem to beat a full-member team.”

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