Billy Stickland/INPHO

'When you look around and see that sea of green, it’s incredibly uplifting'

Tadhg Beirne says the travelling Irish support in France is a source of inspiration for Andy Farrell’s team.

THEY KNOW HOW to build a sense of occasion at the Stade de France. With the majority of Ireland supporters in and around the ground long before kick-off on Saturday, the place was rocking as Ireland and Scotland warmed up on the pitch below.

The party atmosphere continued well after the final whistle sounded, with the Irish fans staying in the ground to salute the team as the PA rolled out the hits. The Cranberries, The Pogues, The Dubliners and U2 all got a spin as the players made their way around the pitch, taking in the moment after another memorable night in Paris.

“It’s very hard to put into words,” explained Tadhg Beirne.

“When you see the sea of green, I don’t know what it’s like for you in the stand, but when you’re in the middle of the pitch and you look around the whole stadium and you see that sea of green, and the noise, it’s incredibly uplifting. It’s incredibly motivational.

tadhg-beirne Beirne in action against Scotland. Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

“It gives us such a lift to know the support we have, to know the support we have at home. That’s what we’re doing this for: we’re doing it for the Irish people, we want to inspire everyone back home and inspire all the Irish people.

“And when you get wins and you get reaction like today, it’s very exciting.”

Saturday’s 36-14 against a sorry Scotland side ensured Ireland topped Pool B to book a quarter-final date with New Zealand. It promises to be another enthralling encounter, with the All Black camp already talking about seeking revenge for Ireland’s series win in New Zealand last summer, an experience which Ireland will lean on again this week.

“Yeah, it’s massive really. It’s not just about the opponents, it’s more about the actual week, those kinds of weeks where you have to win.

“We lost the first Test and we knew going into the second Test we had to win or the tour was over.

That’s what will stand to us, the pressure of those things. We’ll relish this week and we’ll look forward to the challenge ahead.

“You’ve seen how much New Zealand have grown as the competition has gone on, and I’m sure they’ll be pretty excited to play us, considering last time out we came away with that series win. They’ll certainly be looking to make some rights from that.”

Scotland also spoke about setting the record straight, but they couldn’t deliver on the night as their losing run against Ireland stretched to nine games. It was clear some of the words from the Scotland camp during the build-up fuelled an impressive, dominant Ireland performance.

“They can say what they want and we’ll use that as ammo if we feel fit,” Beirne added.

“Some of the comments that came out, that’s how they felt. They’re a confident team, they play good rugby and they really felt like they could come here and beat us.

“But you know we’re able to use that as motivation as well. We’re confident in our own ability and for sure, we were happy with how it went.

“We knew Scotland were going to come, they had to score tries and the way they attack, they like to go wide-wide.

“We knew it was coming and I thought we defended well. After the try we defended probably 14,15 phases before we turned the ball over.

“We felt pretty comfortable out there which was good. Pretty pleased with how it went.”

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