It took them 29 attempts and 111 years but Ireland finally got their first win over the All Blacks, and it was well deserved. Chicago played host for the historic match, as Ireland played some thrilling rugby to beat the world champions 40-29.
Ireland were inspired on the day, no doubt in part by legend Anthony Foley, who passed away a few weeks back. The Irish team formed a figure eight while facing the Haka, paying respects.
“Obviously, there was a lot of emotion and the Munster boys got a lot from that,” said skipper Rory Best. “It was just an emotionally charged day for us.
“Ultimately, we did a lot of our work earlier in the week so we could draw on a bit of that emotion. You’ve got to take a moment every time you make history.
“It’s quite hard to sit here and talk about what’s a massive thing for us. It’s a massive mark of the respect to the All Blacks that beating them means so much to us because they are such a quality side and they’ve shown it.
“There’s been a lot of great teams and great players that have got really close but just haven’t been able to finish it. We’re a tight group, we’re very well coached and that showed today.”
Kiwi coached Ireland will need to refocus again ahead of November 19th, when they face the All Blacks again, that time at home in Dublin.
“I actually said something inadvertently during the week like ‘If you win here I don’t really care too much about what you do for the rest of the series’. So I’ve put my foot in it there!” said coach Joe Schmidt.
“I really thought the players did themselves proud, but to be fair they did Axel proud and his family, and they did their country proud.”