A final fight of supercharged ragpickers, a final pile of bodies where Ireland manages to scratch a mistake to confirm its success and to provoke a new howl of joy, this one even more intense, tens of thousands of supporters who came to witness his match won against South Africa (13-8). Officially, just over 22,000 tickets for this meeting have been sold in Ireland. In fact, Saint-Denis and its stadium turned green on Saturday evening, and we are willing to bet that the diaspora mobilized to strengthen the supporters who arrived directly from the island.
The Clover XV sometimes faltered against the power of the reigning world champion Springboks. But each scratched ball and each penalty awarded to the Club XV caused a rumble. From an anthem to make the hairs stand up and take out the phones to film this moment, to a cover – not very fair, but good – of the hit “Zombie” by the Irish Cranberries to salute the 16th victory in a row for this generation, Sexton and his partners played at home.
“I’ve never seen an audience like this”
“I had never seen an audience like this, breath, still marked by the intensity of the fight, the 38-year-old opener. It’s incredible. We were carried, they pushed us. How many people came to see us play today? I don’t know how this can happen game after game. We didn’t want to disappoint them. »
“Words fail me,” continues his partner in the three-quarter line, Bundee Aki. These Irish fans are incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it, and they’re all on the move. This is madness. It’s only going to get worse. »
Finally able to pass the quarters?
Because frankly, this 2023 Irish team has everything to finally be the one that will shatter the glass ceiling of this selection. Who in nine appearances has never gone beyond the quarter-final stage of a World Cup. Undefeated since July 2022 and 16 matches, authors of the Grand Slam in the last Six Nations Tournament and number one in the world rankings, the Irish have once again taken the wind at their backs with this success.
But for now, the density of their group prevents them from planning for the end of October. After a two-week break, Ireland will conclude its group with a clash with Scotland on October 7. “We are focusing on them,” maintains their coach Andy Farrell, after dismissing two questions about the All Blacks, likely opponents in the quarter, and the Blues, logically avoided with this success on Saturday evening. We know it’s a tough team to play against. The rest, we’ll see when the moment presents itself. » In the meantime, she reinforces her favorite status. And makes the Stade de France tremble.
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