The New Zealand press were absolutely glowing in their praise of Ireland 6 months ago

The New Zealand press were absolutely glowing in their praise of Ireland

They reckon that Ireland are 'the world's best team.'

Australia, Australia, France, Argentina, France, Wales, Argentina.

The list of teams that have stopped Ireland at the quarter-final stages of the Rugby World Cup and despite the historic win over New Zealand in Dublin, there's no denying the fact that the current Six Nations champions have to address this failure to reach the semi-final of a World Cup.

This being said, there's a resilience, intelligence, and skillset in this current Irish squad that's unlike any other we've seen in recent years.

Under Joe Schmidt's tenure, Ireland have won three Six Nations Championships in five years - including last year's Grand Slam - and that's not all.

Aside from this, he also led Ireland to a 2–1 series victory over Australia, their first series win in Australia since 1979, and oversaw Ireland's first ever away victory over South Africa.

We now have two victories over the All Blacks too.

This being said, New Zealand are New Zealand and two wins in 113 years won't change the fact that when it comes to consistency, execution and dominance, the All Blacks continue to set the bar.

However, for the first time in a long time, Ireland can rightfully lay claim to the throne that New Zealand have won in back-to-back World Cups.

Of course, Japan is a long time away and there's still a Six Nations campaign to navigate. Aside from this, as we saw in the last World Cup, injuries to a few key players can seriously derail momentum at a crucial stage.

On a more optimistic note, Irish rugby has never been in a healthier position and with players like Conor Murray, Robbie Henshaw, and Sean O'Brien to return, the future is very bright.

There's no better man than Joe Schmidt to keep feet firmly planted on the ground but it's clear that the New Zealand press are taking the Irish threat to their crown very, very seriously.

FYI, we're aware of the dangers of being 'up on a pedestal,' only to come crashing down but here's what the New Zealand press have been saying in the aftermath of the 16-9 win.

The New Zealand Herald

Gregor Paul in the New Zealand Herald wrote: "Ireland can now claim to be the best team in the world after producing a stunning performance that was brave, creative and relentless. They deserved the win and with it, they deserve to be seen as world rugby's best team even if the rankings don't agree. They were unbreakable. They were so resolute that you have to wonder what was in each and every one of heir engines."


Richard Knowler, writing for, called Ireland “the unofficial kings” of world rugby.

He said “it would be churlish to dispute … that the superpower of northern hemisphere rugby now deserves to be considered the best team on the planet”.

Writing for the same outlet, Mark Hinton said that if Joe Schmidt wants the All Blacks job post-World Cup, then Saturday was the perfect way to present his candidacy.

"There is talk that Hansen may box on for another cycle, but that decision must now be shrouded by doubt. So, if there is to be a new All Blacks coach post-2019, surely Schmidt has just completed the perfect job interview. He has masterminded not one, but two victories over the All Blacks in three seasons."

Otago Daily Times.

Just two years after claiming an All Black scalp for the first time in a famous day in Chicago, the champions of the northern hemisphere dominated the best the south has to offer," they write.


Frederic Bernes in L'Equipe summed it up as follows: "Ireland is a small country with a big heart and a very big rugby team. These two qualities combined to overthrow the World Champions.

Elsewhere, here's how Radio Sport's Nigel Yalden commentated on the final stage of the match.

Listen to "Kiwi commentator loses it - Radio Sport's Nigel Yalden's big call!" on Spreaker.