Thursday 8 December 2016

After finally beating the All Blacks, Ireland are poised to equal one of rugby's most historic achievements

Published 08/11/2016 | 09:06

When you are forced to wait 111 years to achieve something, it is hard to know if reaching your goal will feel as satisfying in reality as you hoped it would during all the time you spent dreaming about it.

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After watching the outpouring of emotion following Ireland's historic win over the All Blacks, it is fair to say that it has been every bit as sweet as people imagined it would be for all those years.

Read more: Tony Ward: A great result for the game

The win, as a one-off, was exceptional - it required what was likely Ireland's greatest team performance of all-time to take down the side who had put together test rugby's longest ever win streak.

And when you place the famous victory in the context of Ireland's season, it becomes more impressive still.

After an underwhelming Six Nations championship, both Joe Schmidt and Ireland rediscovered their top form over the summer.

With a huge injury list, Ireland won on South African soil for the very first time and came agonisingly close to an unbelievable test series win.

Add to that the win over New Zealand and Ireland have beaten two of the three southern hemisphere powerhouses in 2016 - and have an opportunity to make it three out of three on November 26th.

As Balls.ie pointed out, if Ireland can overcome Michael Cheika's side at the Aviva Stadium then they will match Clive Woodward's England side as the only northern hemisphere team to beat the southern hemisphere big three in a calendar year.

Remarkably, Woodward's World-Cup-winners did it in back-to-back years, turning over New Zealand, Australia and South Africa in 2002 before repeating the feat away from home the following year.

That tells you how impressive Ireland have been in getting two thirds of the way there, and although Australia looked mightily impressive in slicing Wales apart last Saturday, Schmidt will undoubtedly fancy his team's chances of completing a historic treble at the Aviva Stadium on November 26.

Online Editors

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