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Monday 5 December 2016

Trimble is still not back down to earth yet

Irish wing harboured doubts even during the heat of battle

Andrew Trimble is tackled by All Black Kieran Read during the game at Soldier Field. Photo: Sportsfile
Andrew Trimble is tackled by All Black Kieran Read during the game at Soldier Field. Photo: Sportsfile

Heck, Canada can wait for another day or four.

Andrew Trimble is still in dreamland, struggling to come to terms with what he was party (in every sense of the word) to in Chicago.

"Those occasions are special moments," he shared.

The Ulster wing was transported back to a spring day when the Six Nations title was sealed.

"For me, the equivalent was in Paris in 2014, walking around and just going, 'this is just unbelievable what we have achieved.'

"At the weekend, there was more history. I don't know if it is bigger. I don't know how you compare the two occasions.

"It was an absolute spectacle."

There is the strange sense that Trimble was not too far from the mentality held by any sane person before and, at times, during the match.

"We had to be concerned about ourselves and what we were going to bring to the game.

"When they scored early on, don't get me wrong, that mentality is not perfect. There are doubts.

Unravel

"They score after three minutes and you are wondering are you going to be under the kosh for the next 80 minutes. This could unravel here.

"But we showed that mental fortitude to step up and take ownership of the game."

The pause for half-time just re-enforced what had happened in 2013.

"At half-time, everyone is thinking the same thing. This is going the same way it did before.

"It's very tempting to pay that lip service, for it to be a cliche, keep positive, keep attacking them, keep going at them.

"But, in the back of your mind, you are going 'Please, can we just hang in for 40 minutes?'"

This is when the true believers took hold of the moment.

"We had a number of leaders who stood up and made crucial tactical decisions.

"Rory (Best), Johnny (Sexton), Conor (Murray), these guys were brave.

"We went at them and called plays that were going to make us uncomfortable."

His words carried all the awe of a star-struck fan of the All Blacks.

"Psychologically, you are sort of wrestling with yourself, trying to convince yourself to believe that we were capable of doing that. And you are wrestling with those doubts in the run-up to the game as well, which is very understandable when you are facing a side like they are, one of the best sides in history.

"We had enough belief in ourselves that we could do it, that we could get over the line. We achieved something really remarkable.

"We know we are only capable of that performance whenever we put the work in and get our head space right.

"So there is a balance to strike in having the right amount of belief and then taking confidence from that."

The hereafter is the back-down-to-earth surrounding of Carton House where the bubble is re-inflated to prepare for the next three matches.

"It still hasn't fully sunk in what we managed to achieve," he said.

"The performance, the atmosphere at the game, Chicago in general. So we are trying to enjoy it for what it is and then trying to get back to a bit of normality and another game this weekend."

Interestingly, the coach did not set out to tear New Zealand's individuals apart in his pre-match analysis. The highlight reels of their men must have been designed to strike fear into the minds of his men.

Prepared

"He tells you if he thinks you're ready, if you're not ready, if you're prepared. And he certainly won't lie to you.

"There is no point in lying to you during the week as there is nowhere to hide at the weekend when you find out how good they are.

"We did find out how good they are, definitely for a 20-minute period when they tortured us, took the pace through the roof and just showed that they can turn a game like that.

"Fortunately, we showed enough character to get over the line in the end."

Now, they have to do it all over again.

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