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Ireland match-winner predicts Springboks rematch in World Cup final

Ireland vs South Africa/ PA

Ireland fly-half Jack Crowley joked about spending his well-earned days off in Disneyland following the fairytale of sealing his country’s statement Rugby World Cup win against South Africa.


Test rookie Crowley capped a thrilling 13-8 victory over the reigning champions by calmly slotting a crucial late penalty after stepping off the bench to replace captain Johnny Sexton at Stade de France.

The 23-year-old was visiting Paris for the first time and had the chance to remain in the French capital for a brief escape from reality ahead of a turning his attention to a pivotal Pool B finale against Scotland on October 7.

Crowley, who expects the Scots to be “gunning” for Ireland, could not resist a light-hearted quip at the expense of his diminutive team-mate Craig Casey and some of the senior members of Andy Farrell’s squad, including 38-year-old Sexton, as he humorously imagined a group theme park visit.

“We have a few days off to recover because it has been a few intense weeks,” he said.

“(I’m going to) take it easy. Disneyland Paris! We have to get a pass for Craig though. There’s a few old-age pensioners as well. Yeah, maybe Disneyland, we’ll see.

“We go back in on Wednesday and the preparation begins for Scotland.

“I suppose they are going to grow throughout the competition, aren’t they?

“We have come against them in the Six Nations and they have been one the toughest competitors because of the way they play.


“Our eyes are firmly on them. I’m sure they will be gunning for us.”

Ireland led South Africa by just two points for the majority of a tense final quarter of Saturday’s epic encounter.

In front of massive Irish support, Crowley nailed a nerveless 77th-minute kick on the occasion of his eighth cap to alleviate mounting pressure before a heroic defensive effort secured success.

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The Munster player revealed team-mate James Lowe was audibly counting down the seconds on the shot clock ahead of the conversion to eat into the time the Springboks would have to hit back.

He described the physicality of a bruising contest as “through the walls”, while playing down his “nice easy penalty” on an evening when the opposition’s wayward goal-kicking proved costly.


Speaking of his key contribution, which came four seconds inside the permitted time, Crowley said: “(It was) pretty special.

“When you’re sitting on the bench looking up at the clock as the time is dwindling away, you see the magnitude grow larger.

“It was a proper Test match. The physicality was through the walls.

“When you’re coming on you’ve got to know the magnitude of the game and the responsibility.

“I got a nice easy penalty in front of the posts. If I’d missed that I think you’d be saying a different story to me. But that’s the gig.”

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While Ireland have a weekend off, South Africa face Tonga on Sunday with work to do.

Crowley suggested the world’s top two teams could meet again in the final at the end of next month.

“They’re a World Cup-winning side because they disrupt teams’ plans,” he said.

“They play rugby the way they want to play and that’s how they won a World Cup just by doing that.

“We knew since we played them in November last year (a 19-16 win for Ireland) just what a challenge this was going to be.

“You’ve got to trust your plan and as a coaching staff and players we all bought into it and thankfully in the end we got the result but it’s not easy.

“And I’m sure we won’t see the last of them in the competition.”


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Andrew 269 days ago

France VS SA and NZ vs Ireland are going to be epic, the fact that we see these games in the quarters and not the semi's is a failing of rugby's governing body and deprives the fans of an opportunity to see the best rugby teams for another week. Those 4 teams would probably beat any other qualifying team. Go bokke! All the best....

CO 270 days ago

Lots of expectation by the Irish fans but here's the reality.

Ireland's dependent on three NZ rugby professionals to get to this point, Bundee, etc.

No tier one team has won more than 18 tests in a row, Ireland will need to win 20 to win RWC.

The Boks should've been awarded a penalty try due to Ireland collapsing the maul at the end.

There are far too many teams still at RWC with the capability of ending Ireland's run.

Ireland's has never made it past the quarter final and to do so will need to be both Scotland and the Allblacks.

Ireland gave it everything to beat the Boks, they've shown their game plan and intent to do so.

Pressure is now huge for Ireland as the world's world one, pressure of expectation does funny things to rugby teams, particularly world cup favourites.

All the talk of an Ireland versus Allblacks quarter is excellent motivation for the Scots.

The Allblacks if the Irish get through pool play will be very motivated, they've only ever lost three in a row to one team and in the professional era it's been once.

Good luck to the Irish but I'm not expecting them to win RWC, the margins are too fine and their winning streak too long, their opposition too motivated.

Liam 270 days ago

Nigel, what are your predictions based on? Merely stating "I cant see" is not a sufficient indicator of the outcome of any game. Based on facts figures and recent history it would seem your predictions are wrong. Im not a betting man, but I suggest you look at the odds set by the book makers as an indicator....they very very rarely get it wrong

Nigel 270 days ago

Can't see SA getting past France in Paris and neither can I see Ireland beating NZ. If the unexpected happens in either group neither of the Pool B teams are going through either.

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