Are Ireland going to win it?
We shouldn’t be looking at the semis of the World Cup, we shouldn’t have annihilated a strong Canadian team who had spent three months with their army forces in preparation, we shouldn’t be feared by every other rugby playing nation in either hemisphere…
BUT WE ARE. We are feared. We are an Irish army that will beat every other team fairly that steps on the battle field with us. We know we will dominate any player that runs at us. If you step on to a pitch and you are wearing the number 4 or 5, you know you are one v one with Paul O’Connell…and you already know he is going to win.
The thing about this #WCup is that this will also happen with numbers 1 – 22. And there is nothing England or Wales or Australia or South Africa or France can do about it.
They know we are coming, they know they are going to lose… they know they’ll give everything they have…and they will still be beaten. They just know… and their supporters know it too.
We are a neutral country by trade. We don’t go to war. We don’t fight with guns to kill. We basically don’t go out looking for a fight. We help and welcome other countries to our shores with music and warmth and they, in return, welcome any Irish citizen to theirs. But on the sporting field, when other teams come to us, we destroy them physically and mentally and then we shake their hands after and (if they can lift their hands) they shake back and a mutual respect is formed that correlates into business, tourism, economics etc etc etc.
New Zealand have had this edge for years. They know how to win at all costs. Be it an illegal tackle on Brian O’Driscoll, a destruction of a team 100-0 or an edgy 18-8 win over Argentina, they just know how to win. Kilkenny Hurling team are similar.
But New Zealand also remember 1978 when they were beaten by Munster in Thomond park. Alone it Stands was written about the game and another play may be about to be written.
We feel rugby and winning in our bones. We remember by heart and place the 2007 Six Nations match in Crokers v England, David Connelly’s goal in 1995, Ray Houghton in 1994, Packie Bonner and David O’Leary in 1990, Roy Keane, Dennis Irwin, Ian Harte, Gary Kelly, Sean Kelly, Conor McGregor, Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe, Anthony Daly, Ollie Baker or Jamsie O’Connor to Christy O’Connor, Des Smyth, Harrington, McGinley, McIlroy, Clarke, McGuigan, Taylor, Carruth, O’Sullivan…you name it, we’ve done it…And we’ve beaten you.
And this team will beat you. The thing is that our boys don’t feel the pressure of their nation weighing them down. They know that we’ll be supporting them no matter what so that brings a certain relief to their play. They can practice set moves with elaborate flicks because Joe Schmidt (An Irish citizen now) has drawn them up and they have been executed to perfection many times.
That poor English team know they’ll get boo-ed if they come home without a quarter final spot…again. They know they have to succeed or they’ll be lynched. That doesn’t work here. And that doesn’t breed positive, non-drop goal play.
New Zealand had a population of just under 4.5 million people in 2013. Ireland stood at 4.59 million people in the same year. And both teams are number one and two in the world. What right do we have to beat England or Australia or the USA or anyone time and time again.
I’ll tell you why we have the right: because on that field, you pick your best 22, we’ll pick ours… and we’ll see who wins the fight. You already know the answer and so do we. But can you stop it? I just don’t think your team has the bottle. I know we play that Swing Low, Sweet Chariot song in our headphones before we go out…just to get up for the match.
We love rugby, it’s in our blood. Lansdowne Road, Croke Park, Thomond Park, Musgrave and Raven Hill, Galway Sportsground…you tell me one player that doesn’t want to play there just to hear our fans and your fans respect each other enough to sing songs over each other or become silent together to watch a kick from either side.
We’ll beat your team though…because we believe we will.
TPJ Predictions: Quarters: SA v Wales/England (Twickenham Sat 17th), NZ v France (Cardiff Sat 17th), Ireland v Argentina (Cardiff Sun 18th oooh), Australia v Scot/USA (Twick Sun 18th)
Semi Finalists – New Zealand v Aust (Twick Sat 24th), Ireland v Wales (Twick Sun 25th),
Third Place Playoff – Aus v Wales (Olympic Stadium Fri 30th)
Final – Ireland v New Zealand (Twickenham Sat 31st)
Winner – who knows on the day, hopefully us. Just wish it wasn’t in England and they didn’t charge so much for tickets. Greed is bad. Sport is good.
To quote Helen Hunt and Mel Gibson in What Women Want – ‘No Games, Just Sports’…