Eng­land and South Africa unite to praise Ire­land

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Eng­land and South Africa may be in op­po­si­tion this week­end but both camps were united in laud­ing Ire­land’s stun­ning vic­tory over world cham­pi­ons New Zealand. Ire­land’s 40-29 win in Chicago on Satur­day was their first vic­tory over the All Blacks in 111 years of try­ing and also ended New Zealand’s record-break­ing run of 18 straight Test wins by a top-tier na­tion.

“The big­gest thing that Ire­land did was they came out of the blocks,” said Eng­land scrum-half Ben Youngs, whose side start their end-of-year in­ter­na­tional cam­paign against the Spring­boks this com­ing Satur­day. “They were very clear, it looked like ev­ery­one was on the same page in terms of what they were do­ing.”

The Le­ices­ter No 9 said Ire­land’s suc­cess proved the so-called dif­fer­ence in the qual­ity of north­ern and south­ern hemi­sphere rugby union, a mat­ter of con­cern ahead of the Bri­tish and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand next year, was smaller than of­ten sug­gested.

“It shows the gap isn’t as big as peo­ple think. Far play to Ire­land — 111 years they hadn’t won (against New Zealand). In­cred­i­ble.” Af­ter such a long drought, the Irish could beat New Zealand twice in a mat­ter of weeks should they de­feat the All Blacks in Dublin on No­vem­ber 19. “I am sure they are look­ing for­ward to two weeks’ time and do­ing it again,” said Youngs.

“The Aviva (Sta­dium) will be rock­ing; it’ll be mad.” Mean­while, South Africa coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee said the match at Chicago’s Sol­dier Field helped un­der­line the worth of his side’s hard-fought 2-1 se­ries win at home to Ire­land in June.—AFP

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