Monday 16 September 2019

'They're not number one in the world for the craic' - Irish heroes react to incredible win over the All Blacks

Peter O'Mahony of Ireland celebrates following the Guinness Series International match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Peter O'Mahony of Ireland celebrates following the Guinness Series International match between Ireland and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Cormac Byrne

It will be remembered as one of the greatest nights in Irish rugby history and it will be particularly sweet for man-of-the-match Peter O'Mahony.

The Munster flanker delivered arguably his greatest ever performance in a shirt of any colour with his two second half turnovers and try-saving interception key moments in Ireland's 16-9 success.

After missing out on the triumph in Chicago in 2016, he can finally add an All Blacks scalp to his CV.

"We knew we had to be relentless, they're not number one in the world for the craic, they're the best team in the world. We knew we probably had to play of the best game of this squads tenure, and it was well up with one of the best," he told RTE Sport.

"This is a big piece of history for us, one we wanted to tick off in Ireland, and we've ticked it off now so happy days."

Number eight CJ Stander hailed a huge defensive effort as Ireland claimed their first win over New Zealand on home soil.

"We always pride ourselves in attack but today our defence was unreal," Stander told Channel 4.

"To keep them scoreless in tries was unbelievable. The boys really stood up."

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Stander added: "It was unbelievable today. Everyone stood up and in training everyone played their part. It's massive for the fans and the country.

"We said we wanted to learn in this game and what a way to learn."

Winning captain Best also praised his side's defensive display to stop the number one side in the world from scoring a try.

"It was a fantastic game and we knew we would have to play them well and go after them," he said. "To stop them scoring a try shows that a fantastic defensive effort it was, but it's amazing how a win like that can give you more energy."

When asked if the win was all the more important ahead of next year's World Cup, Best added: "It's a big result no matter what the context.

"We weren't happy last week but got a win, but to perform like that shows what we are capable of."

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