Ireland v New Zealand in Dublin is always a special sporting occasion, and this Saturday was no different. The Aviva Stadium was rocking beforehand, with a sell-out crowd for the first time since the 2020 Six Nations - and the Irish crowd met the haka with a passionate rendition of the Fields of Athenry.
Ireland v New Zealand: haka gets amazing reception with Fields of Athenry rendition
It's been two full years since Ireland last met New Zealand, in the 2019 World Cup quarter-finals. That game did not go Ireland's way and, after an encouraging close to this year's Six Nations and three test victories against Japan and USA since the summer, excitement was high for the visit of the All Blacks to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Much of the pre-match speculation surrounded how Ireland would welcome the New Zealand haka pre-match. The All Blacks broke out the big show for the Dublin crowd, choosing their longest haka for the test match in Lansdowne Road.
The haka itself got the chills going immediately, with Jack Conan staring down the All Blacks with ice in his veins.
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) November 13, 2021
It was towards the close of the haka, however, that the goosebumps firmly arrived, as the Irish crowd took over the scene with a rousing rendition of The Fields of Athenry.
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) November 13, 2021
The fact that we haven't heard the full 50,000 Aviva crowd singing the classic anthem in nearly two years would have been enough to get the blood pumping, but the manner in which the song took over the stadium midway through the haka was a breathtaking moment.
The use of the Fields of Athenry to respond to the haka is something we saw previously before that 2019 World Cup matchup, but it was a different beast altogether with a stadium full of Irish fans on home turf.
We're struggling to remember a time the Aviva was as loud as we heard it pre-match on Saturday, and it set the scene for the biggest game of the autumn series for Andy Farrell and his Ireland team.