The morning after the night before in Dublin and Steve Hansen still insisted he views Ireland as the number one team in the world following their 16-9 win over the All Blacks in Dublin.

Schmidt’s side remain number two in the official World Rugby rankings but New Zealand boss Hansen claims they lead the way.

Schmidt and Hansen share a word pre-match in Dublin. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

It’s hardly a surprise that the Kiwi coach would welcome the opportunity to put some pressure on last night’s victors, although he also expressed his admiration for Schmidt’s team again in explaining how they have improved to the extent that he sees them as top side in the global game.

“They’re fitter, so whoever is doing their conditioning work needs a pat on the back,” said Hansen.

“Their defence is great. Both teams last night defended for long periods really, really well, so Andy [Farrell] is a great defence coach.

“Their scrum was good, it took us a while to get on top of that. So everybody in the team is doing their bit and Joe is obviously leading it very well. They’ve become a team that believes in themselves and are priding themselves on how they’re playing.

“It’s their turn at the moment so we’ll see how they cope with that.”

Ireland defence coach Farrell has deservedly been receiving plaudits in the aftermath of the home victory.

Remarkably, last night was the first time New Zealand have been kept tryless by a Northern Hemisphere national team – therefore excluding the Lions – since France did it in 1995.

Farrell has also previously helped England to beat the Kiwis in 2012, Ireland get their first win over the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016 and played a key role in the Lions downing the New Zealanders in Wellington in 2017.

Hansen and Farrell chat in Dublin. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

What’s the key to his success as a defence coach against the Kiwis?

“They don’t give you a lot of room, they are well drilled and know what they need to do,” said Hansen.

“We got beaten in Wellington with 14 men, so I don’t know if you can put that down to the defence. We drew in Auckland in the last [Test against the Lions] and again created opportunities in the first 20 to 30 minutes of the game and should have won it by half-time – another example of not taking the things that are there and you get bitten.

“In 2012, we had a team full of norovirus so we had 29 athletes coming out of both ends so we struggled that day to get on the park, let alone compete.

“But the short answer, what’s he good at? He is good at organising his team and filling up the space on the park, and he does that really well.”

The atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium last night was memorable, a loud night in which the supporters drove the players to even greater heights.

Hansen wasn’t able to fully appreciate the volume in the coaches’ box but he could see how much it meant to the home support at the final whistle.

“It’s a hell of a city to come to,” said Hansen. “You don’t tour many places that are like this country and the people are great, and they’re getting a bit of success that they’ve longed for, for a long, long time.

“And they’ve taken the monkey off Munster’s back, haven’t they? They’re going to make more players now and more money. But just the joy that people got out of it was fantastic and good on ‘em.” 

Subscribe to our new podcast, Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42, here:

Click Here: Womens Rowing Forever Stamps 2022

Leave a Reply