- Ireland and New Zealand are set to reignite their rivalry in an exciting World Cup quarter-final matchup.
- Former Ireland head coach, Joe Schmidt, now serves as the All Blacks attack coach, adding an extra layer to the contest.
- Ireland’s 17-match winning streak makes them favourites, but New Zealand’s recent high-scoring performances pose a considerable threat.
- A blend of old and new faces, coupled with past experiences, shapes the teams’ strategies and expectations heading into the showdown.
A Riveting Reunion: Ireland Meets Joe Schmidt in a Pivotal Encounter
A blend of excitement and strategy permeates the atmosphere as Ireland gears up to face New Zealand in what promises to be a compelling quarter-final at the Stade de France this Saturday. A particular point of interest lies in a familiar face within the opponent’s setup: Joe Schmidt, a former head coach for Ireland, now orchestrates the attacking plays for the All Blacks, introducing an intricate subplot to the impending clash.
“In your headdddd… in your head” Zombie is the new Neil Diamond! 👀
— The Good, The Bad & The Rugby (@GoodBadRugby) October 7, 2023
Joe Schmidt’s Trajectory and the Dimension It Adds to the Contest
Schmidt, having steered Ireland to two Test wins over New Zealand in 2016 and 2018, took a hiatus from his role after Ireland’s 2019 World Cup quarter-final defeat by the All Blacks. His journey since then, which includes a position as World Rugby’s director of rugby and high performance and a coaching stint with the Auckland-based Super Rugby side, the Blues, culminates in his current role as New Zealand’s attack coach. Simon Easterby, Ireland assistant coach, acknowledged Schmidt’s growing influence, stating,
“Joe’s influence certainly has increased over the last 12 months.”
Decoding Strategies and Building Anticipation
Undoubtedly, both teams have showcased remarkable rugby performances thus far. Ireland, guided by Andy Farrell, carries the momentum of a 17-match winning streak, earning them favouritism among many. However, the All Blacks, who scored a formidable 25 tries in their last two Pool A matches, indicate a team that’s peaking at an opportune moment, thereby ensuring that the clash with the Six Nations champions will be a must-watch encounter.
Easterby shared insights into the preparatory mindset, noting,
“Joe will know plenty about what we’re about, the individuals in our group, but we’ll have an insight into what they might try and do as well. It’s finely balanced and it’s an interesting sub-plot to the game itself.”
Teams that have qualified for the 2023 Rugby World Cup Quarterfinals.
— Jonathan Bilaso (@ItsBilaso) October 7, 2023
Reflecting on Past Encounters and Looking Forward
While the All Blacks dominated the previous World Cup encounter, Ireland’s Test series triumph in New Zealand last summer could potentially tip the psychological scales slightly in their favour. Easterby reflects on the series, asserting,
“Whatever you want to say about that series, it would have hurt them to lose at home against us.”
He emphasised focusing on refining Ireland’s strategies and performance, while cognizant that the memories of last summer linger in the minds of the All Blacks.
Fusing Past Lessons with New Strategies
The amalgamation of fresh talent and experienced players from the 2019 defeat to New Zealand is seen as a potent mix, fostering a robust unit that has learned and evolved from past experiences. Easterby believes the blend of new and experienced players, coupled with the last four years’ experiences and learnings from past games, will play a pivotal role in Saturday’s showdown.
Ireland last lost a Test Match back in July 2022 against New Zealand. They have won every Test Match they have played since then and are currently ranked number one. They play All Blacks next Saturday.#IREvSCO #RugbyWorldCup #Rugby #RWC2023 #SinBinSquad #RugbyWorldCup2023 pic.twitter.com/m4FH2QVdsB
— Rugby 🏉 (@sin_bin_squad) October 7, 2023
A Glimpse Ahead
As the clock ticks down to what is set to be a thrilling battle between two formidable teams, fans and enthusiasts alike are bound to be on the edge of their seats. The added layer of having a former coach on the opposing side further spices up the narrative, making this a fixture that promises both high stakes and high excitement. Stay tuned as we continue to bring you closer to the action, offering insights, highlights, and more from the Rugby World Cup.