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Isa Nacewa: New Zealanders Seriously Rate Ireland As World Cup Contenders

Isa Nacewa: New Zealanders Seriously Rate Ireland As World Cup Contenders
Conor O'Leary
By Conor O'Leary
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It all changed for New Zealand last March 21st. That was the day that first Wales, then Ireland and England produced some thrilling attacking rugby to provide one of the most memorable finals days in Six Nations history.

For Isa Nacewa, that was the day that New Zealand properly sat up and took notice of the Northern Hemisphere challenge - especially the back to back Six Nations champions Ireland.

In his new column for the Sunday Independent, Nacewa reveals how that one day of rugby had changed New Zealand's ignorant attitude of foreign rugby to pressing the returning Leinster legend for information about the Irish challenge:

[World Cup winning coach Graham Henry] was gripped by what he had seen and the questions erupted from him like a torrent. What about Ireland's chances in the World Cup? Why do you think they are so good? Who are their best players?

This was the first time someone had come to ask me directly about Ireland.

Even Ian Foster, the current assistant, was pressing me for knowledge.

New Zealanders were shocked by the attractive brand of rugby being played, and there is an acknowledgement that the skill levels between Northern and Southern Hemisphere's aren't too different anymore, especially after the success of U20 teams from up North.


According to Nacewa, this is the first time that New Zealanders actually rate Ireland as World Cup contenders - despite our proclamations in 2007.

New Zealanders now seriously rate Ireland as World Cup contenders for the first time.

With Ireland with a historically high world ranking of second and going into the tournament as back to back Six Nations champions, this isn't too hard to believe.


Even the draw that Ireland have paves a relatively easy route to the semi-final where one of Australia, England, or Wales should await.

Nacewa ended his first column with this prediction:

Everyone expects Ireland to meet New Zealand in this World Cup. So do I. Except not in a quarter-final, but a final.

I think we'd take that.

[Independent.ie ]

See Also: Jamie Heaslip Has Had Some Confident Things To Say About Ireland's RWC Chances
See Also: A New Zealand Website Asked If Ireland Will Beat The All Blacks At The RWC, And It's Not A Joke
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