U.S. team to commemorate 9/11, hours before Ireland match

Thursday, 8 September 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

WELLINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - The United States rugby World Cup squad will attend a church service to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, just hours before their opening Pool C clash against Ireland in New Plymouth.

The team confirmed to rugby World Cup organisers on Wednesday the squad would attend the 1000 (2200 GMT) service at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in New Plymouth on Sunday.

Their match against Ireland kicks off at 1800.

United States Ambassador David Huebner and a New Zealand government minister would also attend, Rev. Kim Francis, who will lead the service, told the Taranaki Daily News.

U.S. coach Eddie O’Sullivan said earlier in the week that the big task for him on Sunday would be ensuring his players’ emotions did not get the better of them as they remembered the attacks on New York and Washington, which killed almost 3000 people.

“Motivation isn’t going to be an issue for these lads, they’re always easy to fire up,” he said.

“It’s going to be emotional I think.

“For me, part of my job is to contain the emotion. If they get too emotional, they’ll make mistakes, and if they make mistakes they’ll pay a big price.”