World cup Woes – Ireland’s Quarter-final dark days
Amazingly Ireland have never reached beyond the last eight of a Rugby World Cup – you may have heard that line trotted out once or twice in recent days and weeks. Well records are there to be broken, and Joe Schmidt’s men are poised to become the first group to break down that particular barrier this weekend. But before that let’s look at some of our previous attempts to join the elite.
1987 – Ireland 15 Australia 33: A first ever World Cup, a first failure at the last eight hurdle. Ireland went into the game on the back of a first round defeat to Wales but two subsequent wins over Tonga and Canada propelled Ireland into a Sydney showdown with Australia. The Aussies built up a massive twenty-four point lead in this one and Ireland never recovered.
1991 – Ireland 18 Australia 19: The one that got away. A game and final few minutes that has been ingrained in the Irish psyche ever since Gordon Hamilton crossed the line with mere minutes left on the clock. It looked like Ireland were about to gain revenge for four years previous but in the final moments David Campese and Michael Lynagh combined to edge Australia into the semi-final. The Wallabies went on to lift the trophy at Twickenham further deepening the Irish sense of an opportunity missed. But we had that try….
1995 – Ireland 12 France 36: The first of two World Cup quarter-final exits to the French, our South African adventure ended with a comprehensive defeat in Durban thanks to the boot of Thierry Lacroix. Philippe Saint Andre and Emile N’tamack crossed the whitewash while Lacroix did the rest as Eric Elwood was Ireland’s sole provider of scores on a bleak day.
1999 – Bloody Argentines
2003 – Ireland 21 France 43: Ireland had lost out in a classic to the hosts in the group stages in Melbourne and ended up running into a rampant French side who laid waste to Irish hopes in a devastating first half. Brian O’Driscoll grabbed two tries in the second half but it was too little too late as Keith Wood bowed out in tears.
2007 – See 1999
2011 – Ireland 10 Wales 22: The reason no Irish player will be getting ahead of themselves this week. Four years ago Ireland topped their group, winning a thriller against one of the big boys and faced a Welsh side who they were favoured to beat and finally lay the quarter-final hoodoo to rest. However it was not to be and Shane Williams set the tone with an early try as the Welsh eased to victory in the end.
2015- Ireland ? Argentina ? : Watch this space….