Northern Ireland

Ireland greats delight in victory over New Zealand

Jacob Stockdale shows his delight after scoring Ireland's crucial try Image copyright Inpho
Image caption Jacob Stockdale's try was the only try of the game

Ireland's historic win over New Zealand on Saturday in an electric Aviva Stadium had many pundits talking up the men in green as the team to beat at next year's World Cup.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt was keen to play down the favourites tag.

But former Ulster and Ireland international Andrew Trimble was among those clearly excited by the prospect.

"Ten months out from the World Cup, what does this mean? Book your flights lads," he told the BBC.

"It was incredible, an absolute pleasure to witness, a pleasure to be here," said Trimble, who played for Ireland in their first ever win against the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016.

"That test match had everything. It was absolutely incredible.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Andrew Trimble played 223 times for Ulster and 70 times for Ireland

"I thought that Irish performance had everything. In the first half, possession wise, we were all over them."

The 16-9 victory in Dublin was Ireland's first ever home victory over reigning world champions New Zealand, with the only try of the game scored by Ulster's Jacob Stockdale.

Former Ireland and Lions captain Willie John McBride was delighted by Stockdale's performance.

"In attack he is tremendous and he is always improving," McBride told BBC News NI.

Image copyright Ciaran McCauley
Image caption Former Irish international Willie John McBride in the original Ulster Rugby video

"It was a tremendous win, it is always nice to beat the best, especially on home soil.

"I believe we have the best coach in the world, he has developed and has great depth.

"I think we are in a healthy position to win the World Cup. Let's just hope we do not get any injuries."

A host of other current and former Ireland internationals praised the performance.

Among them was Johnny Sexton, who Willie John McBride believes is the best player in the world.

And both Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney sent their congratulations to the team.

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