Ireland was back in Chicago for a repeat match at Soldier Field in early November 2018. Joe Schmidt’s team had made history in Chicago two years prior during a remarkable week. Just days after the Cubs – Chicago’s long-suffering baseball team – won their first World Series in 108 years, a 111-year curse on the All Blacks was broken. Rugby Fans can buy RWC 2023 Tickets from our website.
As a result, the IRFU was eager to return to the site of one of the national team’s most memorable away days. A rematch against New Zealand was rumored to be on the table, but the Kiwis were not enthusiastic about the concept. After what happened in 2016, it’s understandable.
As the union moved on with its plans, Italy was enlisted as an adversary. To put it bluntly, it was a letdown of a sequel. Schmidt’s team cruised to a 54-7 triumph in front of a half-full Soldier Field. At the time, Ireland was on a roll. A Grand Slam and a series win against Australia were already secured. In 2018, Leinster had won every trophy available.
In Chicago, the mood was more upbeat. Andrew Porter, Tadhg Beirne, Joey Carbery, and Jordan Larmour were among the standouts. A group of four rookies with bright prospects.
Larmour had a great day, scoring a hat-trick to light up the place. When he entered the post-match mixed zone to answer questions from the Irish reporters in attendance, the quick-footed Leinster wing was humming.
Ireland want to win the Rugby World Cup
When the microphones were placed in his face, Larmour responded defiantly. ‘In the long run, we want to win the Rugby World Cup,’ he remarked at the time. ‘However, there is some rugby to be played.’ This month, three more major games are scheduled. However, this group’s potential is limitless.
‘When it comes to the All Blacks, no one is terrified of them, no one is fearful of them.’ They are an excellent group. We’re in the same boat. We simply need to show up on the day and hand them over.’ The IRFU comms crew most likely gave Larmour a clip on the ear for his outburst. Ireland would go on to defeat the All Blacks for the second time a few weeks later in front of a sold-out Aviva Stadium.
After then, the hype machine went into overdrive. Maybe this group can go places no Irish team has gone before? We are all aware of what occurred in 2019.
In Japan, the Rugby World Cup was a depressingly familiar experience. Schmidt became overly reliant on a core of players who had passed their prime. In frightening games with Japan and New Zealand, depth – or the lack thereof – in critical places was highlighted.
Andy Farrell was present to observe everything. He’d soon emerge from Schmidt’s shadow to take over as CEO. One of his first orders of business was to choose Johnny Sexton as captain. At the time, it didn’t appear to be a long-term strategy. The key projects were changing the environment’s culture and the game strategy. Farrell has gradually put his own imprint on this organization over the course of more than two years.
Carbery gets his second consecutive Six Nations
Most importantly, he appears to have learned from the mistakes of 2019. This camp has made no declarations of world dominance, but there have been knowing hints toward the France Rugby World Cup 2023.
On that point, the team selection this afternoon is extremely telling. Carbery gets his second consecutive Six Nations to start, with Sexton on the bench. Dan Sheehan takes the field for his first Test. Ryan Baird makes his Six Nations debut. These two extraordinarily skilled forwards have a combined total of 11 caps. Rugby Fans can buy Rugby World Cup Tickets from our website.
They might both be front-runners in the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Mike Lowry makes his professional debut. Mack Hansen gets his third hat trick. On the bench are Craig Casey and James Hume. It’s a young team with a wide-ranging game plan. They should have no trouble with the Italians today, who are on a 34-game losing skid when they arrive in Dublin. This week, there has been a lot of debate regarding point differentials and the title race in the following weeks.
This team would be thrilled to win their first Six Nations trophy since the heady days of 2018
Farrell, on the other hand, is clearly thinking bigger. Ireland’s short-term, game-by-game, tournament-by-tournament mentality has cost them dearly on the grandest stage time and time again. Despite the brilliance of the Six Nations and other spectacular November campaigns, an Irish squad making a significant impact at a World Cup would be unusual.
And this is a team that has the capacity to perform in the world championship. This third-round match has the air of a launching pad for the coming year. Farrell must check off a few boxes. The primary aim is to secure a bonus-point victory and a large point total. Another plus would be to see Carbery, Sheehan, and Baird rip it up. The ultimate goal is to improve the depth chart for the big one in RWC 2023.
The tournament’s schedule is not the most forgiving, and it may be the most difficult in its 36-year history. A quarter-final match against either France or New Zealand awaits those who get past the Springboks, Scotland, and Tonga. Regardless of what happens in the next 18 months, Farrell’s team will be underdogs.
Flying under the radar while establishing a strong, young team could work out for them in the long run. In 2019, Ireland has an aging population with a large bullseye on its backs. Again, we’re all aware of what transpired. As a result, a new strategy is required. Farrell appears to concur. An early part of the great plan against the Azzurri is about to be revealed.