“The new England” – NZ writer launches astonishing attack on Ireland
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Things are heating up ahead of Ireland vs the All Blacks in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup this weekend, with one of New Zealand’s notable rugby writers launching a scathing on Ireland ahead of the big game.
Ireland have gotten the better of New Zealand in recent times, most recently securing a first-ever series win on their home soil last summer.
But Paul thinks Ireland’s long reign at the time of the World Rugby Rankings has gone to their head, branding them the “new England” and stating that their position has given them a new sense of ”entitlement.”
“There have only been a few teams who have made themselves universally unpopular in the way they have behaved or carried themselves on the field or after games,” Paul wrote in the NZ Herald.
The most notorious was Will Carling’s England team of the late 1980s and early 1990s, who were never much liked by anyone other than their own fans. They were perceived as arrogant, often condescending to opponents, and a touch too fond of celebrating their own success.
“This Ireland team have perhaps become the new England, as their prolonged stretch as No 1 in the world rankings may be fostering a culture of entitlement.”
He also highlighted Peter O’Mahony’s post-match comments about Scotland on Saturday, and suggested the All Blacks may not respect Johnny Sexton because of the way he “he conducts himself” with officials.
“Peter O’Mahony’s comments [about Scotland] lacked class and respect, while Johnny Sexton has seemingly come to see his status as the global game’s elder statesman and captain of the world’s best team as a licence to berate officials and belittle opponents,” Paul continued.
“He’s a brilliant player and a great leader – wonderfully articulate, too – but he’s often too eager in trying to get under opponents’ skin… Some may find his passion admirable and judge his behaviour a sign of his depth of commitment to win, but it’s obvious that the All Blacks may have the deepest respect for his talent, but they don’t much care for the way he conducts himself.”