Sunday 16 December 2018

Alan Quinlan on conversation Cian Healy that revealed 'the most intriguing part' of famous win

Ireland's Andrew Porter and Cian Healy celebrate after the match. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Ireland's Andrew Porter and Cian Healy celebrate after the match. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne Newsdesk Newsdesk

Former Ireland international Alan Quinlan has revealed that our first ever win over New Zealand on home soil came as no surprise to the Irish players, they expected it.

Over 113 years of trying had yielded just one victory over the All Blacks, the 2016 triumph at Soldier Field, but there was certainly no inferiority complex on Saturday.

Quinlan believes it is the best victory ever achieved by an Irish side.

"It's the best win, the best result we've ever had. What a year for Irish rugby in 2018 with the Grand Slam, winning in Australia and beating New Zealand without Conor Murray, Robbie Henshaw, Dan Leavy, Sean O'Brien. It was an incredible performance," he told Off The Ball AM

"I was surprised because to go from where they were against Argentina last week to what in some sense was the perfect performance. A Joe Schmidt masterclass.

"It was a mental thing. The level of intensity, the adrenalin, the intensity the team had at the weekend was off the Richter scale.

"Emotion in rugby is very important and it's very hard to have that high emotion every week. It's not feasible at times and that's when you here about grinding out results and doing the basics well.

"It was through the roof on Saturday."

One of the most amazing aspects of the 16-9 win was that it the outcome the Irish players felt was most likely to occur.

"The intriguing part for me is that they expected to win," he added.

"We got a little bit of luck at time but we should have been further ahead at half-time, I thought the lack of panic was incredible even though it wasn't good for the supporters or the people watching.

"Our kicking game was poor and a few lineouts went astray and I can guarantee that Joe Schmidt will look back at the game and point out  a load of things should have been better.

"I thought our back row was immense. (Peter) O'Mahony, (CJ) Stander and Josh van der Flier were sensational and they set a tone when New Zealand had that pressure on.

"I spoke to Cian Healy after game and I told him to cheer up, it's only the second time we've beaten them in 113 years and he was there, 'We expected to win'. I don't think he'll mind me saying that.

"That's not an insult, he genuinely believed that they are good enough to win these games now."

Quinlan doesn't see Ireland's latest success as a flash in the pan.

"If we played New Zealand next Saturday, would we back it up? I think we would.

"That scenario happens when you're on tour. In 2012, we should have won the second test in Christchurch and then we were beaten 60-0 the week after.

"I think if we played them next week, they'd be more nervous.

"We've put doubts in their heads but we've also put belief in our mentality that we are a consistently good team."

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