New Zealand and Ireland played out a titanic quarterfinal duel that will live long in the memories of both sets of fans.
Having risen to become one of the most tightly fought rivalries in international rugby over the past decade. There was no love lost as the two sides met at the Stade de France.
Racing into an early 13 – 0 lead, New Zealand appeared as if they might run away with the win.
Yet, as they have shown under head coach Andy Farrell, Ireland showed their resilience to come back into the contest. Trailing by a single point 18 – 17 at half-time, the match was still very much alive for the Irish.
In a tense second half, the two sides went blow for blow, with the All Blacks holding Ireland up over the line in the final ten minutes to secure the win.
This result felt different, and it is yet another quarterfinal departure for Ireland. In reality, there was little choose between the two sides, but when it counted, the All Blacks showed their championship quality.
Adding further insult to injury for Ireland, two legends of the Irish game captain, Johnny Sexton and Keith Earls, announced their retirement.
In a rather ugly incident post-match it is reported that All Blacks centre Reiko Ioane said to Sexton, “Enjoy retirement and don’t miss your flight”.
This was then followed up with Ioane gesturing to the Irish crowd that he couldn’t hear them.
Reporting on the incident, Irish journalist Gerry Thornley, who was at the match, wrote, “Ioane, in a classless gesture, put his finger to his lips while looking at the Irish crowd, and then felt compelled to bid farewell to Sexton.”
What is your take on the incident? Let us know in the comments below.
Meanwhile, Rieko Ioane gives it the Irish fans…
has a history of similar incidents pic.twitter.com/S24p3goOgt
— Rob Bruce (@robert_t_bruce) October 16, 2023
Ian Foster and Rieko Ioane could learn from the classiness of Sam Cane and Joe Schmidt. Win with grace not behave in chippy and disrespectful fashion as both Foster and Ioane did. Absolutely shameful by both of them. https://t.co/FcsA3xbjrT
— Pirate Irwin (@pirateirwin) October 15, 2023
— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) October 14, 2023