Tuesday 20 February 2018

Ice-cool Jack McGrath has brilliant response to New Zealand journalist in case of mistaken identity

Ireland's Jack McGrath:
Ireland's Jack McGrath: "This is a new challenge – we are playing against the best team in the world. It’s really exciting." Picture: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

It was clear from Steve Hansen's press conference in Chicago yesterday that the New Zealand coach is taking Ireland very seriously this week, but there was evidence later on that perhaps not all Kiwis are quite on the same page.

Jack McGrath was at the top table with Joe Schmidt for Ireland's team announcement and midway through the presser, a journalist from New Zealand called him Rory and asked him about his upcoming battle with All Black hooker Dane Coles.

"Emm, I'll tell Rory that when I see him," he replied. "I'm Jack McGrath, by the way. I'll be going against Owen Franks at the weekend.

"He is a massively experienced operator, as are all the front-row. It is going to be a hugely physical battle and it will be won and lost at scrum-time.

"Again, we've worked really hard on video to see where their strengths are and where to counter-act that. We're a strong scrum so we're going to have to have a go at it.

Asked by another New Zealander if he felt disrespected, McGrath brushed it off.

"Well he wears a scrum-cap. . .I've been called worse, let's just say that," he said. "It's not too bad; I don't mind that. The calibre of the man, it's not too bad to be compared to him."

McGrath has fully put 2013 to bed. The loosehead was responsible for going off his feet at a ruck in those pivotal final minutes, conceding the penalty that handed the All Blacks the one last chance they needed to deprive Ireland of a famous win.

"No, not at all. That's forgotten about," he said. "This is a new challenge - we are playing against the best team in the world. It's really exciting."

Joe Schmidt agreed with his prop, saying: "Jack answered it pretty succinctly by saying it doesn't really have a direct relevance for us other than probably the continued frustration that it's a team that has been incredibly elusive."

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