Billy Stickland/INPHO Farrell celebrates with Bundee Aki.
# So Farr So Good
‘The most special thing about tonight is no other Irish side will get a chance to do that again’
Andy Farrell spoke of his pride in Ireland’s performance this evening after guiding the team to a first-ever win against the All Blacks on New Zealand soil.

IRELAND COACH ANDY Farrell has expressed his admiration for his team’s character after this stunning victory over New Zealand this evening.

The victory surpasses his previous best day as Ireland coach – the 29-20 victory over New Zealand last November. This, after all, was a victory achieved away from home, something no Irish coach has ever produced before.

“This is not about what it means to me at all,” said Farrell. “We talk a lot about inspiring people back home and these lads, they keep turning up, they keep turning up and knocking down doors.

“The most special thing about tonight is no other Irish side will get a chance to do that again, will they?

“We talk a lot about, not just about beating New Zealand in New Zealand for the first time, but that there is a Series to be won.

“We have earned the right to have a go at that and there’s things that are going to happen in the future that we talk about.

“Somebody is going to do something sometime soon, or it might be further down the track. It might as well be in your time. It might as well be in your career.”

cian-prendergast-finlay-bealham-hugo-keenan-dave-heffernan-bundee-aki-and-peter-wilkins-celebrate-winning Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

As a coach, Farrell is famed for his ability to generate a strong team spirit. “He’s incredible at getting the tone of a week right, understanding how a dressing room works,” said Warren Gatland, who worked with Farrell on two Lions tours.

Those traits were visible in Ireland’s win tonight.

“The lads buy in, they dig deep; they put in a performance like that,” said Farrell. “The most pleasing thing about it is that everyone knew the All Blacks were going to come out in the second game (of this three test series), especially under the roof here, and play a more cohesive, quicker game.

“These lads didn’t let them do that. We started very quick last week and did exactly the same thing tonight. That, to me, shows the courage of the players.

“The most impressive thing was that we learned the lessons from last week about staying in the game, staying calm, focusing on the next moment.

“Of course there were errors but our mentality never changed. We did not get sucked into the lure of the game with 13 men, 14 men, trying to play from everywhere. We kept them pegged down in their territory. The game control was outstanding.”

The implications of this win will be felt across the next year as well as the next week. First there is a series to win – and 28 years have passed since the All Blacks last lost one in New Zealand.

But looking further down the line, Ireland could potentially face New Zealand in next year’s World Cup quarter-final, depending on how each country fares in their respective pools.

“The boys back themselves against anyone and the more of these occasions they get against the best teams in the world, the better they are going to get.

“The most impressive thing is we stay calm when things don’t go our way. We don’t get overawed or frustrated. We stay neutral. It is helping us.”

Tonight proved that.

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