Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll was delighted with his charges after they claimed top spot in Pool C with a 36-6 victory over Italy on Sunday.
O’Driscoll was one of three try-scorers for the Irish, who completely outplayed the Azzurri in the second-half at a packed Otago Stadium.
And he could not hide his pleasure following the final whistle, with his side now set to prepare for a quarter-final clash against Wales next week.
“We are very pleased to get ourselves through the Pool in first place,” said the veteran centre.
“We didn’t bring in the results to the World Cup that we had hoped for but we never panicked and had belief in our ability and what we are capable of and I think we managed to deliver to get ourselves into a place where we’re playing against Wales for a semi-final spot.”
2011 is the first Rugby World Cup year that Ireland have topped a Pool and for O’Driscoll it was a long slog after failing to do so in 1999, 2003 and 2007. However he did not think the result against Italy came easy, which was apparent by their slender 9-6 half-time advantage.
“I’m pleased with the way we played today,” he added.
“We knew it was going to take a good while to grind them down and we had to be patient but we were clinical when the chances came and that’s very pleasing. But like everything, there is always things to work on and we’ll go back and identify where we need to be sharper.”
The support Ireland received in the indoor stadium was of immense proportion and with opposing head coach Nick Mallett amazed by the green support, O’Driscoll followed suit.
“That was the best yet as there was a sea of green everywhere you looked,” he gleamed.
“Our job is to give them something to cheer about and they got behind us in spades. It was really incredible to play here, it was just like the Aviva and it says it all for the travelling Irish.”
By Adam Kyriacou at Forsyth Barr Stadium