Lynne Cantwell insists Ireland have no fear of four-time World Cup winners New Zealand ahead of the sides’ meeting in Paris this afternoon (1700).
The Kiwis are aiming for their fifth title in a row in France and opened their campaign with a 79-5 annihilation of Kazakhstan on Friday.
“At the start when we saw them in our pool I was excited because we’d never actually played them before,” the Irish record caps holder told RTÉ Sport.
“But then you come to the reality of the challenge and what they stand in the way of, in our pool, and you have no room for respect whatsoever.
“I am fully confident in what we can do. We’re completely fearless and that’s something people don’t often do.
“They go in against the Black Ferns or the All Blacks saying ‘oh we respect them’ but you can’t have that mentality nor would they expect it [from you].”
Cantwell insists that Ireland will be concentrating on their own game rather than trying to nullify the opposition and is confident they can build on Friday’s 23-17 win over former champions USA.
“The thing is to expect the unexpected. They’ve got the ability to do whatever,” she said.
“In light of that, we focus on ourselves. We focus on our structure and what we’re going to do: our spacing, our communication and our defensive and attacking organisation.
“We know what to expect in a way so it’s just our mindset and keeping switched-on.”