Ireland: Keith Wood backs Andy Farrell’s men to maintain form going into World Cup

·2-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Ireland legend Keith Wood insists that Andy Farrell’s men “shouldn’t fear anyone” after their historic series triumph over New Zealand.

The Irish claimed their first-ever victory against the All Blacks in New Zealand in the second Test before following that up with another win in Wellington.

It meant that they went away with a 2-1 success over Ian Foster’s charges, continuing their fine form in 2022.

Ireland have been here before, however, having impressed in between World Cups but utterly failing when getting to the global tournament.

Some have queried whether the same will happen again in France next year but Wood has much more confidence in the current set-up.

Target on their back

“The players have to enjoy it,” he said on Monday Night Rugby. “It has put a huge target on their back and I would hope that this particular group would relish that target.

“Who is to say it’s the peak? We just know that this is the highest level that they are at at the moment. Who is to say that that’s the Everest of this group?”

“We shouldn’t fear anyone. We shouldn’t fear ourselves either. Ourselves being the not great performance in the first match, we shouldn’t fear that we are able to turn that around.

“That’s one of the things I really liked. The structure of this tour was so bloody awkward, horrible and hard that it mirrors what a World Cup is like.

“I take an awful lot from it, and I do think a lot is different because of that.”

Wood also criticised those that have tried to denigrate Ireland’s recent achievement.

History

“It drives me absolutely mad!” he said. “I’ve heard people saying that ‘they are only friendly matches’, which just gives a fairly high lack of understanding of what touring in rugby has been for over 100 years.

“The magnitude of what has been done is truly extraordinary! It is for a moment in time. My sons were asking me at the final whistle why I was so excited. I said, ‘because it is history’.

“Watching history unfold in front of you is pretty phenomenal, especially when it is going your way.”

READ MORE: All Blacks legends call for Joe Schmidt influence on All Blacks coaching team

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