Rugby legend Gareth Edwards believes Irish fighting spirit will be a huge plus for Europe at Celtic Manor.

The wonderful Welsh fly-half is reminded of some old Irish rugby greats when he sees Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy bonding in the team room.

An unofficial member of Colin Montgomerie’s back-room team, Edwards said: “I was in the team room the other day and there are lots of reminders of my old Lions days.

“I don’t know Padraig well but he is such a competitor. He reminds me of a Fergus Slattery or a Willie John McBride, who were guys that gave their very best all the time.  

“Whenever I played against Ireland you knew that you were in for a tough confrontation with no quarter given or asked and if you wanted to beat them, you had to be at your best. I’d like to think that they will be brilliant here as well.

“They are all characters from the vice captains Darren Clarke and Paul McGinley to the youngster in Rory McIlroy.

“Rory reminds me a bit of my old Irish scrum half friend Roger Young from my Lions days. He’s bubbly, effervescent. A lad of great humour and good fun.”

McDowell is not a rugby fan but he sees the oval ball comparisons with his Irish team mates this week.

He said: “I supposed I’d be the guy shouting the odds in the line out and Rory is the buzzing halfback. Padraig? He’s got to be the fullback because he’s a safe pair of hands.”

Edwards knows all about team dynamics and he reckons that Harrington will justify his selection with an inspirational performance on and off the course.

He said: “There are not too many guys like Padraig, who have won three majors. It is all about respect and Padraig commands that in the team room.

“This man has done it. He is a great champion. Everybody has an opinion when it comes to picking any team and I am sure he will acquit himself brilliantly because he is such a fine competitor.”