Gerry Thornley says All Blacks fear factor is gone, Ireland go four games without a goal
Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Andrew Porter, Tadhg Furlong and James Ryan celebrate after Ireland’s win over the All Blacks. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho
Ireland achieved their highest ever world rugby ranking yesterday, following last Saturday’s win over the All Blacks in Dublin. And in his column this morning, Gerry Thornley reflects on the lofty status Joe Schmidt’s side now hold around the world and on home soil, as they venture into uncharted territory. He writes: “Mentally this squad are in a place never previously occupied by an Irish rugby team globally, or perhaps any Irish sports team.” And he looks at the stunning record Ireland’s new breed of players have against New Zealand: “In half a dozen meetings, including the Lions, Tadhg Furlong is three wins, one draw and two losses. CJ Stander is 2-1-1. Josh van der Flier is 2-0-1. James Ryan is one win from one. Ditto the replacements Porter, Luke McGrath and Larmour. Joey Carbery is two from two. . . Of course respect for the All Blacks remains. Absolutely. But the mystique and the fear factor have been removed.”
Meanwhile we are asking our readers to let us know where they watched Ireland’s famous 16-9 victory. More than 50,000 were at the Aviva Stadium to witness the lifting of a 113-year hoodoo, but around Ireland - and around the world - pubs, clubs, bars and living rooms were packed to the rafters. Please get in touch HERE, and tell us your story.