What an incredible year it has been for the Ireland rugby team which has continued with their first test win in Australia since 1979. Ireland won the third and final game 20 points to 16 and former Leinster and Ireland hooker Shane Byrne gave his thoughts.
A Six Nations Grand Slam win followed by a Leinster Pro14 and Champions Cup double and now a test win in Australia for the first time in 39 years; it’s safe to say it has been the perfect year for Irish rugby. Byrne reacted to this historic feat.
“It’s still Ireland’s fourth sport; it’s absolutely incredible what we achieved.”
“We’ve one of the smallest playing populations of tier 1 sides and just so impressive the way we go about it.”
“We have a new golden generation.”
A major piece to this successful Irish team is of course head coach Joe Schmidt. Rumours have circulated about the future of the New Zealand man with his native country and Australia said to be interested in his services. Byrne had this to say on the matter.
“I think he’d take two more years after (World Cup 2019)”.
“He will be if not the next, the one after All Blacks coach.”
“He is very settled here but it is a long way from home and he eventually want to go there.”
The rugby World Cup is being held in Japan in 2019 which could be Schmidt’s last tournament coaching the boys in green, however Shane Byrne feels the Irish should go into the tournament confident and aware of their chances of winning it with the strength in depth of the squad.
“We are the second ranked team in the world and rightfully so, we’ve beaten a lot of good sides on the way to achieving that.”
“We have to go and behave like the number two in the world.”
“These kids play like they’ve been playing at this level all their lives and this is what they were put on the planet to do.”
Also on this morning’s show was Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane speaking on the Saipan incident, Blackburn Rovers and Ireland future star Darragh Lenihan and Dubs manager Jim Gavin and former player Charlie Redmond on today’s Leinster final.
Listen to the show in full below;
Now That’s What I Call Sport is live from 9am every Sunday morning.