Wednesday 25 April 2018

'Cocktails... I know, times have changed!' - Joe Schmidt reveals details of Ireland's Grand Slam celebrations

17 March 2018; The Ireland team celebrate after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium in London, England. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
17 March 2018; The Ireland team celebrate after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium in London, England. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has given a bit of hilarious context behind some of his players belting out 'The Fields of Athenry' at the airport the morning after the Grand Slam triumph - pinning the blame on a troublesome weather delay.

The 'Son of the Beast' ensured that not only was the Grand Slam homecoming scheduled for Lansdowne Road cancelled, but that the players were late in leaving London following their magical win over England.

The team was scheduled to fly home on Sunday morning and speaking at a pre-match lunch at Terenure RFC last Saturday, Schmidt revealed some of the backstory behind the video that saw centre Bundee Aki leading the charge in a rousing rendition of the Irish song.

"If you saw any of the online stuff, we got delayed four times because of the 'Son of the Beast', and I'm not talking about Billy Vunipola!," Schmidt said in a video shared on Facebook by the Son of a Schmidt page.

"We couldn't take off and we couldn't land but apart from that they said the flight would be pretty safe. The worst thing about it was at ten in the morning we were going to have a quick meeting, to check numbers and to get everyone on the bus to the airport. Unfortunately at 10am, everyone had finished breakfast and it was very sedate, slightly hungover but very sedate.

"Then we got news that we had been delayed 45 minutes. We said 'lads, chill out and have another coffee'. We got to about 10.30 when we saw the first pints starting to be shared!

"We thought, that's okay we'll get out of here in 15 minutes. Delayed another 45 minutes... cocktails! Cocktails - I know lads, times have changed.

"After another delay we got to the airport and we thought 'we just have to transition them through here' but then another 45 minute delay. And that's how they, sort of, came to be singing the Fields of Athenry in the Aer Lingus lounge."

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