Ireland’s standing as a rugby nation has taken a tumble after the ignominious quarter-final exit at the hands of the All Blacks, with the New Zealand press declaring Joe Schmidt’s side “abysmal” and “embarrassing”.
They may be trying to end each other’s World Cups tomorrow but both Steve Hansen and Joe Schmidt have revealed the camaraderie that exists between the New Zealand and Ireland coaching staffs ahead of their quarter-final at Tokyo Stadium.
The history of sporting tournaments is littered with tales of players and teams who broke a glass ceiling but ultimately fell away before the summit was attained. The lesson seems to be that the fairytale, captivating as it may be, rarely has a happy ending.
Maybe it says everything about the way the All Blacks are that the day after they learned their final pool game against Italy had been cancelled, they woke up super early and battered themselves senseless in a training game.
CAPE TOWN - After years of inane platitudes from All Black coach Steve Hansen about the rivalry with the Boks after his side racked up record scores against their old foes, things changed this week.