Rugby

Steve Hansen Declares Ireland The Best Team In The World

Steve Hansen Declares Ireland The Best Team In The World

We never knew Devin Toner had it so good: the rest of the world looks pretty great from all the way up here.

Ireland, shorn of Conor Murray, Robbie Henshaw, Sean O'Brien, and Dan Leavy, have become the first Northern Hemisphere side outside of the Lions to keep the All Blacks tryless since 1995.

There were innumerable heroic performances from Ireland, but none could match that of Peter O'Mahony, who went from seeming game-ending agony with a hip injury to two monstrous, critical turnovers to secure Ireland victory.

Joe Schmidt paid tribute to Kieran Marmion and Luke McGrath after the game, who proved that they have travelled a long way since the Six Nations game in Wales in which Schmidt preferred to persist with an injured Conor Murray than throw Marmion into the fray.

Steve Hansen, meanwhile, would have no repeat of his spiky 2016 showdown with Claire McNamara. He wasn't interviewed on RTE, but in his post-match press conference, the Kiwi boss declared Ireland as the best team in the world, and that they would now be favourties to win the World Cup in 11 months time.

"Since it was 1 v 2 today - as of now Ireland are the number one team in the world, so that result makes them favourites for the World Cup" said Hansen. The world rankings, of course, don't have Ireland at the top - the All Blacks remain there in spite of tonight's defeat.

When Joe Schmidt was asked to reply to Hansen's comments, he did so in characteristically understated fashion.

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"We are just focusing on the USA next week. I think he enjoyed a bit of banter. We can't control what people say, we'll take tonight and focus on the next 11 months". Schmidt disagreed that Ireland are the favourites for the World Cup, pointing out that the All Blacks have been the best team on the planet for the last 9 years.

Kieran Read, meanwhile, was graceful in defeat, telling RTE that Ireland were too good for his side on the night.

"The Irish were too good for us tonight, credit to them", said Read.

He wasn't wrong.

See Also: Player Ratings As Incredible Ireland Make History With Triumph Over New Zealand

See Also: Joe Schmidt's Training Tweak That Led To Tonight's Victory Over New Zealand

Gavin Cooney
Article written by
Changed the spelling of his name upon pressure from Michael Owen.

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