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Former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll says he believes that Ireland can win the World Cup.
Joe Schmidt’s side have beaten all the major teams in the tournament at least once since the last World Cup and the 133-times-capped centre believes that they have a chance in Japan.
"I absolutely think they can win it but they need a lot to go for them," he said.
"But on the basis of what I’ve watched in the last two years, they can win the World Cup. They can win that group, and then beat South Africa or New Zealand.
"It's a big ask but they can beat them. Then you're in a semi-final against Wales or Australia or England. We've beaten all those teams.
"So, on the basis of that, I do believe. It's the first World Cup Ireland have entered that they know they have beaten all the teams in it. And there's a confidence that comes with that."
Ireland completed back-to-back wins over Wales with a 19-10 victory at the Aviva on Saturday which took the them to the top of the world rankings for the first time in their history, but O’Driscoll doesn’t believe that this will create any additional pressure for the squad.
"It won’t put any pressure on them," he added. "It's a nice added incentive to have as a team.
"It's nice to tick all those boxes over the course of a few years as you’ve been climbing to prominence which is what this team have done over the past four years.
"Winning a series in Australia for the first time in years. Winning a test in South Africa. Beating the All Blacks. Another Grand Slam. Six Nations titles.
"All those things have added up. They won’t pay that much heed to the ranking, but it’s nice to say that at one point, you were part of an Irish team that was number one in the world.
"Irrespective of whether you think the rankings are right or wrong, it’s nice to be there for a few weeks heading into the World Cup."
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