‘This is probably the TOUGHEST thing to do in world rugby’: Ireland coach Andy Farrell hails team as historic series win over New Zealand sees them pip France to top of the rankings

  • Andy Farrell has heaped on Ireland and called them a special group 
  • Ireland beat New Zealand 32-22  in landmark victory to win the test series 2-1
  • The win sees Ireland leapfrog France at the top of the world rankings  

Ireland coach Andy Farrell has paid tribute to his team after their historic test series win over New Zealand. 

Their 32-22 victory over the All Blacks saw Ireland win the series 2-1 and Farrell has saluted his side and called the victory one of the toughest things to achieve in the sport. 

‘This is a special group,’ he told Sky Sports. ‘This is probably the toughest thing to do in world rugby.’

Andy Farrell called his Ireland team a special group following the victory over New Zealand

Andy Farrell called his Ireland team a special group following the victory over New Zealand 

Ireland celebrate the 32-22 win over New Zealand that saw them win the test series

Ireland celebrate the 32-22 win over New Zealand that saw them win the test series 

‘We dusted ourselves down and we came over here with task in hand and we went for it straight from the start, which is great.

‘We said it was going to be the start of our World Cup year but, I don’t know, it’s probably a little bit bigger than that.’

Farrell also said his players have confidence of beating any team in the world after leapfrogging France to the top of the rankings.

The landmark win over New Zealand had seen Ireland topple France at the top of the rankings

The landmark win over New Zealand had seen Ireland topple France at the top of the rankings 

‘They already do believe that because they keep turning up and surprising me, certainly,’ he said.

‘The bunch are just tight. They knew there was a better performance in them (following the first two Tests) and there certainly was for that first 40 (minutes).

‘These guys have won a lot of stuff and broken some records – this one will top it, I would have thought.’

Farrell’s skipper Johnny Sexton has returned the complement by praising the influence of the 47-year-old on the Ireland team. 

Johnny Sexton has paid homage to Andy Farrell and the influence his had on the Ireland team

Johnny Sexton has paid homage to Andy Farrell and the influence his had on the Ireland team 

Johnny Sexton (left) and Andy Farrell enjoy the spoils after their historic win over New Zealand

Johnny Sexton (left) and Andy Farrell enjoy the spoils after their historic win over New Zealand 

‘It’s clear how much belief (we have) and it starts with the main man, Faz (Farrell),” said the fly-half. 

‘He’s come in here, he’s changed things, he was brave at the start and he’s stuck with some older lads and he got criticised and he brought in some younger lads and he’s just done an amazing job.

‘It’s all credit to him really.” Sexton also warned that Ireland cannot repeat history by peaking too soon for a World Cup.

‘It means a lot now,’ he said of the series win. ‘I know in a year’s time when the World Cup starts it won’t mean anything as we’ve learnt before.’

‘But we’ll certainly enjoy tonight and maybe a couple more days and then we’ve got to keep improving. 

‘That’s what we’ve got to learn from previous years but this group of boys, the management we’ve got, they’re a very special group and I’m so proud to be a part of it.’

The World Cup kicks-off in September 2023 and Ireland have been drawn in a group alongside South Africa, Scotland, Romania and a yet to be determined Asia/Pacific nation. 

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