Ireland to upset the All Blacks – that’s the bold call from English great Lawrence Dallaglio ahead of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
Dallaglio, part of the only northern hemisphere team to win the World Cup when he helped England lift the 2003 trophy in Australia, made his early prediction in a Times podcast.
Dallaglio shrugged off Ireland’s patchy form before and during a tournament that has already seen them lose to hosts Japan in pool play.
He found more merit in the proven class of Joe Schmidt’s Irish side and their recent pedigree against the All Blacks that has seen them win two of their last three matches against New Zealand.
“The heart rules the head for me on this one. I’m going to predict a big upset and I reckon the Irish can produce something very, very special,” Dallaglio said, urging Ireland to back their proven abilities.
“That is a world class team and that is something they have to somehow remind themselves. If they play anywhere near how they can at their very best …”
Much of the podcast chat centred around Irish belief and how their first win over New Zealand, coming in Chicago in 2016, had finally shattered the myth of All Blacks in Irish eyes.
The subsequent 20-18 win in Dublin had proven that and now it was a matter of repeating things on the biggest stage of all.
Schmidt had cleverly out-witted the All Blacks and now the world waited to see if he had “one more trick up his sleeve” for Tokyo on Saturday night.
It’s ironic to hear an Englishman talking up the men in green when the Irish media continue to be prophets of doom.
But Ireland will have to overcome the bookies odds to play out Dallaglio’s prediction and get past the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.
The New Zealand TAB has the All Blacks to win a head-to-head contest at $1.19 compared to Ireland’s $4.35.
They are also favouring a big New Zealand win. An All Blacks victory by 13 points or more is paying $1.83 compared to $2.80 for a win by 12 points or less.
This content was originally published here.