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Richards could have been a Roo: Furner

Pat Richards will line up for Ireland against Australia on Saturday but Kangaroos assistant coach David Furner says the winger could have easily been in the green and gold had things panned out differently.
Richards could have been a Roo: Furner
by AAP

By Liam FitzGibbon

LIMERICK, Ireland, Nov 8 AAP - Pat Richards will line up for Ireland against Australia on Saturday but Kangaroos assistant coach David Furner says the winger could have easily been in the green and gold had things panned out differently.

Richards, 33, says he will have mixed emotions when he faces his country of birth in Limerick at the Rugby League World Cup.

The winger, who helped Wests Tigers to the 2005 NRL premiership, has spent seven years with Wigan in the Super League.

The switch to the UK at the peak of his career effectively ruled him out of representative selection but Furner said there was no doubt Richards had the talent to represent Australia.

"I have no doubt; he can play wing and centre and picked up a Man of Steel (Super League player of the year in 2010). That's a tremendous effort," Furner said of Richards, who will return to the Tigers next season.

"He obviously made an impact there and the Super League competition is a very good one because we see players who come and then go back to the NRL so that just shows you the standard.

"I've been fortunate enough to play for Wigan and Super League is a tremendous comp.

"He's come over and dominated that and played some good football."

Ireland are almost certainly out of the tournament but Richards has called on the squad to show some pride in the jersey.

Mark Aston's side conceded 74 points in its opening two games but Furner expected the Wolfhounds to lift against the tournament favourites.

"They play hard and will have the crowd on their side," North Queensland-bound Furner said.

"You know the opening stanza is going to be nice and physical, they have (Canberra prop) Brett White and players who player Super League. They'll be pumped for it."

Both teams finalised preparations with a training session at the match venue ahead of Saturday's match, expected to be played in near-freezing conditions.




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