Wallace exorcises demons

Ireland flank David Wallace will finally banish memories of his 2003 Rugby World Cup misery when he lines-up against Namibia in Bordeaux on Sunday.

Wallace was overlooked by Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan for the squad four years ago – a decision which drew widespread puzzlement.

The 31-year-old Munster openside was eventually called-up when Alan Quinlan withdrew through injury, but missing the initial cut remained a bitter experience.

However, Wallace, who has overcome the chronic ankle injury sustained in training nine weeks ago to regain the number seven jersey, is ready to make up for lost time.

“It was a low point of my career. It was very disappointing. In 1999 I was in touching distance,” he said.

“To miss out four years later was hard to take. In 2003 I was coming off the back of a shoulder injury and there were a lot of quality back rows around at the time.

“Maybe I hadn’t proved my form before the World Cup but I’m here this time and what’s gone on in the past is in immaterial.”

Wallace, a powerful ball carrier and mobile support runner, has been hailed as “unique” by O’Sullivan on account of his speed and physique.

As the younger brother of fellow Ireland internationals Paul, a prop, and Richard, a wing, Wallace claims to have been blessed with the best attributes of both players; and both will be in France to watch.

“Paul was fast for a prop and Richard was a winger,” he said.

“Maybe I’m a mixture of the two, getting the good parts of each.”


365 Digital

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