Saturday 10 December 2016

All Blacks leading try scorer Doug Howlett explains what it was like to watch Ireland's historic win alongside Paul O'Connell

Harry Clarke

Published 08/11/2016 | 21:38

Former Ireland and Munster captain Paul O'Connell, left, with former New Zealand and Munster player Doug Howlett after the International rugby match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field in Chicago, USA
Former Ireland and Munster captain Paul O'Connell, left, with former New Zealand and Munster player Doug Howlett after the International rugby match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field in Chicago, USA

All Blacks legend Dougie Howlett has admitted it was hard not to be 'thrilled for Ireland' watching Joe Schmidt's men end their 111-year famine against New Zealand in Chicago on Saturday night.

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Howlett maybe steeped in All Blacks tradition and is their highest-ever try scorer, but he spent seven years playing with Munster and was present in Soldier Field alongside Paul O'Connell to watch history unfold.

"It was hard not to be thrilled for Ireland, they deserved to win because of the way they played and I don't think anybody can doubt that," said Howlett in quotes reported on the Munster website.

"It was mixed emotions for me I guess, it was the team that I grew up playing with versus some of my mates from the Irish team.

"There's actually only one player from the current All Blacks, Jerome Kaino, who I played with. It was great to see my mates in the Irish team finally get a success against the All Blacks.

"I was watching it with Paul O'Connell and we were both going through the emotion, every moment, every impact meant something. It was a real Test match and great to be able to witness.

"The images of Paul and I were just special moments where we managed to catch the eye of some of our former Munster team-mates and it was just a fantastic occasion."

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