Ireland feature 11 times in Rugby World Cup's greatest 100 moments
It’s hard to believe there are less than 100 days to the Rugby World Cup and the Telegraph in England has given us a taste of things to come with their top 100 moments in the competition.
While they have, obviously, gone for Jonny Wilkinson’s last-gasp drop goal that won the trophy for England in Sydney, Ireland make the list 11 times.
91. Ireland pull off a shock, 2011: Consistent underachievers in the World Cup, this pool-stage victory was perhaps Ireland’s finest hour. Johnny Sexton and Ronan O’Gara kicked two penalties each and Sexton also landed a dropped goal as Australia, the Tri-Nations champions, were beaten 15-6.
88. Brian O’Driscoll tackles George Smith by the dreadlocks, 2003: More noted for bits of rugby brilliance, the Ireland centre took an innovative approach to dealing with George Smith after the Australian had handed him off. O’Driscoll grabbed Smith’s dreadlocks and pulled him to the floor with him.
87. Keith Wood’s try on the wing for Ireland v USA, 1999: The hooker scored a remarkable four tries in this 53-8 victory at Lansdowne Road. The most unlikely of them was when he cropped up on the wing to ‘sprint’ over.
77. Gary Halpin gives the All Blacks a two-handed up-yours salute, 1995: The Irish prop certainly did not underplay his try in Ireland’s pool game against New Zealand. He responded to barrelling over with a two-armed, one-fingered ‘salute’ to the All Blacks. He had to be dragged away by his team-mates and New Zealand went on to win 43-19.
76. Brian O’Driscoll makes his mark, 1999: Not his finest try, but the first of O’Driscoll’s 47 in Tests was a sign of what was to come. He darted through the United States defence to touch down in Ireland’s comprehensive win at Lansdowne Road.
69. Ireland beat Wales 24-23 in Johannesburg in 1995 in a pool-stage shoot-out: Knowing that the winner of this game would go through to the quarter-finals behind New Zealand, Ireland controlled it from the start until almost the finish. But the Welsh, who had been poor throughout, finally mounted a rally and eventually fell just one point short, Ireland holding on for a 24-23 victory.
60. Argentina beat Ireland in the quarter-final play-off, 1999: Ireland have rarely done themselves justice in the World Cup, but this was one of their lowest moments and, conversely, Argentina’s finest. The South Americans showed they were a match for the more established rugby playing nations with a 28-24 victory in Lens.
53. Alan Quinlan dislocates shoulder in scoring crucial try, 2003: The Ireland flanker charged home from 25 yards out to score a crucial try in a 16-15 win against Argentina, which meant his side made it through to the knockout phases at the expensive of the south Americans. But in the process of touching down he dislocated his shoulder and was out for six months.
51. Ireland’s golden generation humbled, 2007: Eddie O’Sullivan’s all-star side – Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara, Paul O’Connell et al – crashed out limply at the pool stage. They just about scraped past Namibia and Georgia and then lost to France and Argentina. It was the first time they had failed to make it to the knock-out stages.
17. Gordon Hamilton scores a try for Ireland v Australia, 1991: With five minutes of this quarter-final remaining at Lansdowne Road, Ireland were 15-12 behind. But that all changed when flanker Gordon Hamilton sprinted past David Campese and touched down after a 40-yard charge for the line. Ireland celebrated standing on the cusp of a famous victory… but Michael Lynagh had other ideas.
14. Michael Lynagh’s winning try for Australia v Ireland, 1991: A brilliant 40-yard sprint for the line from Gordon Hamilton appeared to have settled this quarter-final in Ireland’s favour at Lansdowne Road. But trailing by three points with just moments remaining, the home side conceded a penalty giving Michael Lynagh (pictured) the option of a kick to level the scores. But the fly-half took a quick tap penalty and Australia worked the ball out to David Campese, who was brought down just short of the line, setting up Lynagh for the winning score. The game ended 19-18.
See the full list here