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Friday 18 January 2019

Trevor Brennan: Amazing to see player of Horan’s stature come out with this nonsense

TIM Horan is a legend of the game, but accusing Ireland of cheating and faking injuries is not the behaviour of a sporting great.

It’s amazing for a player of his calibre, winning two World Cups and being one of the most exciting backs to ever play the game, to come out with this nonsense.

It’s the reason why the Australian national team is hated in New Zealand, the arrogance from their media and supporters and their lack of grace in defeat doesn’t appeal to any sports-loving people.

It would remind me of how England are viewed in the northern hemisphere. Both feel as if things have to go their way and opponents should play games on their terms.

They just can’t accept being beaten and it’s not as if we haven’t come tantalisingly close to doing it before at the World Cup.

In 1991 in Landsdowne Road and 2003 in Melbourne, we came within a point of turning them over.

Every other country on the planet just loves beating these giants and it felt like the whole world got behind Ireland in Auckland last Saturday.

It’s the same in every code, whether it’s cricket or rugby league, a flaw in their nature.

They could have an argument if they were beaten by a point and had a blatant call against them, but the Wallabies were dominated and well beaten – in fact the final scoreline probably flattered them.

If we had converted our opportunities better, it could have been the biggest margin |of victory we’ve ever had over the Wallabies.

We beat them off the park and imposed our game on |them from the off, instead of |the other way round, and that was ultimately the key to our success.

Ireland didn’t allow them to play their wide, expansive game, but to call it cheating is just plain wrong.

It was a fantastic tactical display from us.

Horan’s assertion that referee Bryce Lawrence should not be allowed to adjudicate over another game is disturbing.

Rules

Lawrence is an experienced official who knows the laws of the game. We can’t have a situation where referees are bending the rules to make the game more of a spectacle.

The heroic displays from the Irish players should not be downplayed by anyone. They played with integrity and courage, hardly the actions of cheaters or fakers.

The level of support for Ireland at Eden Park was extraordinary. It was clear from the kick-off that 90pc of the people in the stands were cheering on Declan Kidney’s men and, as the game developed, both the fans and the Irish players were feeding off each other’s energy. It was |a joy to behold.

You could pick out a pocket of gold in the crowd but it was just green everywhere.

I’ve met so many kids who have left Ireland to come to Australia and New Zealand and they have latched onto this Irish team for a taste of home and pride, and Brian O’Driscoll and the boys didn’t disappoint.

To contrast our support with the Aussies, there was a group of 80 Australian supporters in front of us during the match |and they left the game with |10 minutes to go, which was extraordinary.

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