By John Fallon in Manchester
Irish coach Nigel Carolan said he feared the worst when New Zealand cut the gap to four points in the closing stages of their thrilling World Rugby U-20 Championship clash but felt his men had the composure to respond.
“You should always fear the worst when you play against New Zealand because they are capable of anything. A lot of their scores, very often they came out of nothing.
“Their scores can come from anywhere and we have to be on our toes but once we were in their half, in the last couple of minutes we were comfortable.
“It was very difficult conditions for both teams but we dealt with it very well. The game that we tried to play was maybe a lower risk and high intensity but we seemed to get a return on everything that we did.
“We forced them into making a lot of mistakes which ultimately they paid the price for,” he said.
Carolan said these young Irish players should savour this historic win for the rest of their careers.
They are the first Irish men’s team to beat New Zealand and Carolan said they should be very proud of what they have achieved.
He said: “To be the first Irish men's team to beat New Zealand is huge, for these young men who have just achieved that today hopefully it is the start of super careers for them.
“Hopefully it will give them the belief, and any Irish team, that we are good and if we can perform as a collective we are hard to beat.”
It’s been a great fortnight for the Galway native. He is also the Connacht academy manager and many of his protégés were part of Pat Lam’s Pro12 winning squad.