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Former All Blacks Head Coach Reminds Ireland Of 'Chokers' Reputation

Former All Blacks Head Coach Reminds Ireland Of 'Chokers' Reputation
Colman Stanley
By Colman Stanley
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Amid the mass celebratory hysteria in Irish rugby right now - after a weekend of Grand Slams - former New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has warned Ireland that being the no. 1 ranked side in the world does not mean a whole lot going into a World Cup, especially with the record Ireland have.

Hansen was speaking ahead of the 2023 Killik Cup, which will see his World XV face off against Eddie Jones' Barbarian side on May 28 at Twickenham.

While talking to the press, he praised Ireland's Six Nations performances, and backed Andy Farrell for the 2025 Lions job, but reminded everyone that many see Ireland as 'chokers', with their poor World Cup record.

Ireland were good throughout the Six Nations. In that final game, they started off a bit shaky and England rattled them a bit, but once the red card came, it was game over and they were good enough to take advantage of it.

They’re going well, ranked number one in the world and they’ve had a great year so far.

Every time a team is number one in the world, you’ve got to consider them to be a World Cup contender – but it’s a tough tournament to win, and they were number one going into the last one, weren’t they?

So, they’ve seemed to struggle a little bit at World Cups. If it was the All Blacks, they’d probably be called ‘chokers’.

Steve Hansen Sends Veiled World Cup Warning To Ireland

19 October 2019; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, right, greets New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen prior to the 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final match between New Zealand and Ireland at the Tokyo Stadium in Chofu, Japan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

READ HERE: Flannery And Heaslip Praise Underrated Trait Of Andy Farrell's Coaching


“But they’ve come a long way, they believe in themselves, and they’re a very good side, so they’re definitely a contender," Hansen continued.

"But they’ll have to overcome the pressure of not having gone past the quarter-finals before, and there’ll be a lot of pressure involved in that.

“If they get through to the semi-finals, then they’re in new territory. That’s something they’ll have to deal with that they’ve never dealt with before, and it’s always hard to deal with something you haven’t dealt with before.”


It is a harsh reminder, but it is also tough to disagree with Hansen, given what he achieved in the game, including coaching what is considered the best side of all-time to World Cup success in 2015, and handing a vicious hammering to Ireland in the 2019 World Cup quarter finals.

SEE ALSO: Matt Williams On The Key To Success For Both The Ireland U20s And The Seniors

ireland england grand slam u20s 2023 six nations matt williams

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