Rugby World Cup 2023: Ireland allowed itself “to dream”, which makes its defeat “more painful than ever” according to the foreign press

The Irish Independent delved into its archives to try to place this defeat on the scale of disappointment

Rugby World Cup 2023: Ireland allowed itself “to dream”, which makes its defeat “more painful than ever” according to the foreign press

The Irish Independent delved into its archives to try to place this defeat on the scale of disappointment. From 1966, the year of Arkle's injury, the thoroughbred champion steeplechase – a type of steeplechase on horseback – considered a national hero, until 2009 when the hand of Thierry Henry deprived Ireland participation in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. “The greatest adventure in the history of Irish sport is over. But what an adventure! », writes the newspaper after the defeat of the XV du Trèfle against New Zealand, Saturday October 14, at the Stade de France (24-28), in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.

“We are not disappointed with the Irish team. We are disappointed for the Irish team. They have given us so much that it is impossible not to be proud of them. » Despite an eighth elimination at this stage of the competition, the Independent confides its “gratitude” towards coach Andy Farrell’s players.

The Irish Times, on the other hand, cannot contain its bitterness: “The dream has vanished, once again. This team allowed us to dream and this new defeat in the quarter-finals is more painful than ever. » “Not like that, please…”, also laments the Irish Examiner, citing a scene from the Matrix saga where a character about to die says “not like that, not like that”. The newspaper evokes “powerless, horrified, resigned” supporters and a defeat whose “cruelty” tarnishes the exit of Johnny Sexton, Irish captain and best director in the history of the selection, who announced his sporting retirement at the end of the tournament.

“A social and cultural phenomenon”

Against New Zealand, the Irish never led in the score. They made too many hand mistakes and were unable to take advantage of opposing errors, concedes The Irish Times. “They gave everything, and even more, but came up against a fierce and proud opponent”, until a final offensive of six minutes and thirty-seven phases of play at the very end of the match.

The All Blacks ended a series of seventeen Irish victories in all competitions and the Irish Independent prefers to continue its elegy: “No Irish team has ever managed to achieve such a level of excellence. »

More than the journey of his XV, the newspaper will remember the atmosphere that accompanied it. “It happens that sport enchants a nation (…) to such an extent that it goes beyond the limits of sport to become a social and cultural phenomenon, when even the casual spectator and the neophyte are swept away by an irrepressible wave. »

An excitement carried by the tens of thousands of Irish people who came to support their team in France. “Foreign observers know what the Irish brought to the tournament. "There is no country whose supporters showed more fervor, colour, noise and good humour," wrote the Irish Independent, without mentioning the disrespectful Irish chants covering the New Zealand hacka before the encounter.

The Blacks, “the best team in the world that night”

In the New Zealand media, the return of the right to power following the legislative elections of October 14 competes with the victory of the All Blacks. Except in 2007 and a defeat against France in the quarter-finals, the Fern selection has always reached the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cups. We sense joy and pride but also a certain calmness in the post-match articles offered by the local press. Habit, no doubt.

Stuff describes a team “full of class and character” facing a “very, very good Ireland team”. “It all came down to will, discipline and desire. The All Blacks have drawn on their resources to offer themselves a very, very real chance of winning a fourth world crown which seemed so improbable just a few weeks ago. » The New Zealanders will face Argentina in the semi-final, Friday October 20, at 9 p.m. at the Stade de France.

This victory has been patiently built “for fifteen months” and the two Irish victories in New Zealand in the summer of 2022, “a painful lesson”, according to the New Zealand Herald. The Blacks win after an “epic” match, even “the best quarter-final in the history of the World Cup”, continues the headline in another article. It took the All Blacks “all out” and a lot of “resilience” to resist the Irish comeback after the yellow cards received by Aaron Smith then Codie Taylor.

Ireland are currently the top team in the world in the World Rugby rankings, but the Blacks “just had to be the best team in the world that night and they were.”