Saturday, July 16, 2022

By Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Political leaders have congratulated the Irish rugby team for their historic series victory over New Zealand.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the 32-22 victory over the All Blacks on Saturday, which gave the Irish side their first ever series win in New Zealand, had given the entire nation a “huge lift”.

President Michael D Higgins said the victory was an “outstanding and historic achievement”.

The president tweeted after the match in Wellington: “As President of Ireland, may I congratulate the Irish rugby team, led by their captain Johnny Sexton, on their outstanding and historic achievement today.”

Mr Martin added: “Extraordinary, sensational and breathless victory by @IrishRugby over the All Blacks.

“This achievement will live long in history – a first test series win, and New Zealand’s first series defeat on home soil since 1994.

Ireland players celebrate in Wellington
Ireland players celebrate in Wellington (Elias Rodriguez/Photosport via AP)

“A huge lift for the entire nation this morning.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar tweeted: “Historic moment for Ireland in Aotearoa.”

Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand.

Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Féin’s leader in Northern Ireland, described the victory as “extraordinary”.

She said: “An absolutely extraordinary performance, as Ireland make history with our first-ever series victory over the All Blacks in New Zealand!”

Members of Ireland’s triumphant squad were pictured in tears at full-time as they savoured arguably the greatest result in the nation’s history, which also moved them top of the sport’s world rankings.

Ireland only won away to New Zealand for the first time last weekend by bouncing back from a 42-19 drubbing in the Auckland opener to triumph 23-12 in Dunedin and set up the decider.

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