Ireland head coach Andy Farrell praised his players for achieving “the toughest thing to do in world rugby” after his team made history by becoming the first northern hemisphere team to win a series in New Zealand.
Farrell’s men claimed a thrilling 32-22 win over the All Blacks in Wellington to take the series 2-1, putting together a spirited performance in a classic Test match.
The 47-year-old was delighted with his charges and revealed he was proud of how well Ireland stuck to their task and created history.
“This is a special group,” he told Sky Sports. “This is probably the toughest thing to do in world rugby.
“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.”
Top of the world
The impressive series win sees Ireland move to the top of the world rankings, and Farrell believes his players will have the confidence to take on any team.
“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.”
“I didn’t think we got carried away when things were going well,” he said.
“We knew they were going to come back but we dusted ourselves down and got back on task and our maul was outstanding – and the composure of the boys, they deserve everything they get.”
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton was masterful yet again and inspired his team to the historic achievement. The 37-year-old basked in the glory of a “very, very special” day.
“I bet you we have four million at home up for breakfast, probably having a couple of pints watching us,” he said.
“We speak about them all of the time, we want to do them proud, and we certainly did that.
“The effort was incredible and it’s another special day because we’re playing against the very best in the world and to come down here and do it is very, very special.”
The veteran revealed that Farrell was key in instilling confidence in the Irish side and commended his job during his time in charge.
“It’s clear how much belief (we have) and it starts with the main man, Faz (Farrell),” said Sexton.
“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.”
READ MORE: July internationals: Ireland claim historic first series win over New Zealand
The article Andy Farrell: Ireland boss hails players for historic series win in New Zealand appeared first on Planetrugby.com.