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For the first time in rugby history, New Zealand are a bit jittery about Ireland arriving on tour

Brendan Fanning


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Gary Whetton in action for Auckland against Ireland during the 1992 tour. Photo: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Gary Whetton in action for Auckland against Ireland during the 1992 tour. Photo: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Irish head coach Andy Farrell. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Irish head coach Andy Farrell. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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Gary Whetton in action for Auckland against Ireland during the 1992 tour. Photo: Billy Stickland/INPHO

To the best of our knowledge, there is no 30-year reunion planned for the Boys of ’92. They flew out of Dublin in late May that year, just as one of the biggest news stories in Irish history was breaking — Bishop Eamonn Casey and his extra curricular activity — and it followed them to New Zealand. On the second game of a harrowing but instructive trip, a banner was unfurled in the crowd at Lancaster Park, then home of Canterbury: ‘The Bishop didn’t do it.’ Oh, he did it all right. But on a different pitch the rugby boys would get very little done.

A year earlier there had been a portent of sorts when Ciarán Fitzgerald’s squad prepared for the second World Cup with a four-match tour of Namibia. If some of us had to look at the map to get a rough handle on the schlepp from Dublin to London to Johannesburg to Windhoek, then more of us had to pull out a copy of Encyclopedia Britannica to learn something of a place probably better known in its previous incarnation of South West Africa.


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