The eight that inspired Ireland to beat the All Blacks

International
AFP
by AFP

Captain Rory Best said Ireland's pre-match tribute to Anthony Foley was "the right thing to do" following his team's historic upset win over New Zealand in Chicago on Saturday.

In an emotionally-charged moment before kickoff as the All Blacks performed their haka, Ireland's players lined up in a figure of eight - a tribute to No.8 Foley, the beloved former Munster and Ireland player who died suddenly last month at the age of 42.

"We just talked about it through the management and the players," Best said afterwards.

"This was the national team's first time together since his passing. We felt it was the right thing to do.

"We put the Munster boys at the front of it, to lead that. It was our way as the Irish national team of showing a mark of respect to 'Axel'," he added, referring to Foley's nickname.
The tribute ultimately helped inspire Ireland to a remarkable 40-29 victory, the team's first win over New Zealand in the 111-year history of meetings between the two nations.

"There was a lot of emotion," Best said. "I'm sure the Munster boys got a bit from that. It was just an emotionally charged occasion.

"We knew we had a great opportunity. We did a lot of work in the week to make sure we were bang on and could draw on a bit of that emotion."

"It has been a long time coming and history (has been) made. We're absolutely ecstatic," - Best

Best said after leading his team on a raucous lap of honour at the famed NFL venue, the home ground of the Chicago Bears.

Just days after the Windy City erupted in celebration after the Chicago Cubs landed their first World Series baseball crown in 108 years, Ireland booted their own 111-year Rugby hoodoo firmly into touch.
Roared on by army of green-clad fans in a 62,300 crowd at Soldier Field, the Irish outscored the All Blacks by five tries to four to seal their first win over the Kiwis in the 29th instalment of a rivalry dating back to 1905.

"It has been a long time coming and history (has been) made. We're absolutely ecstatic," Best said after leading his team on a raucous lap of honour at the famed NFL venue, the home ground of the Chicago Bears.

"We know they are a great side. You can see how good a side they are and how much it means to our boys to have won that."
Ireland were forced to cling on in the closing stages after a ferocious New Zealand fightback, which saw the All Blacks recover from a 30-8 deficit to go within four points at 33-29 with 15 minutes left.

But with the crowd roaring them home, Ireland scored a fifth and final try through outstanding centre Robbie Henshaw, converted by replacement flyhalf Joey Carbery, to clinch a famous victory.

It was New Zealand's first defeat since their loss to Australia in August 2015. Only last month, the All Blacks had set a world record for consecutive victories with their 18th win in a row.

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