Ireland will be boosted by the “chase” of New Zealand still holding onto their world number one ranking according to Luke McGrath as he heaped praise on Wigan RL legend Andy Farrell.
Joe Schmidt’s men toppled back-to-back world champions New Zealand 16-9 in Dublin on Saturday, for just their second-ever victory over the All Blacks.
New Zealand have retained their world number one status despite losing to second-placed Ireland, though All Blacks boss Steve Hansen believes the Irish can now call themselves the globe’s best.
And Leinster scrum-half McGrath paid tribute to Ireland’s defence coach Farrell.
The Munster flanker’s talismanic performance of controlled fury was epitomised by a stunning steal from right under Ben Smith’s nose as the All Blacks wing prepared to scoop up and score.
“It’s such an incredible feeling, we had to work so, so hard for the win,” said McGrath.
“Andy Farrell the last few years has been brilliant. We spoke about it needing to be our best defensive performance if we wanted to win, and I think it absolutely was.
“It was definitely our defence today that won it for us.
“That play that Jacob scored from, you do that during the week and you’re never sure if it’s going to work in the game, but thankfully it did.
“Once Jacob gets an opportunity, he saw Ben Smith come up into the line and he chipped in behind.
“And once he gets those opportunities, he’s absolutely ruthless, he’s an unbelievable try scorer.”