Sexton reveals why Ireland can break the quarterfinal curse
This Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal match against All Blacks is a chance for Ireland to solidify themselves as the best Irish team in history.
Ireland will take on New Zealand in the World Cup 2023 quarterfinal on Saturday in Paris.
It is a dream match-up for the neutral and for the Irish, it’s a chance to add to their already prolific form.
A win for the No.1 ranked side takes their unbeaten run to a record 18 wins and will also make sure they advance to the semifinal for the first time.
The Irish have reached the quarterfinals on nine occasions but have failed to reach the last four every time.
However, Ireland captain Johnny Sexton believes the current crop of players has what it takes to overcome the unwanted record.
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“We have worked on our mental game for the last four years and put ourselves in different scenarios to prepare for this,” Sexton said.
“Each quarterfinal, or where we haven’t got through our pool, have all been different, and it’s a different group again.
“Each of those groups lost once. It wasn’t the same group losing quarterfinals year and year.
“If it was club rugby it might be different but I don’t think we are carrying much baggage.
“It is a one-off game and we have got to prepare for now.”
#⃣SPOTLIGHT: @AllBlacks Beauden Barrett seeks revenge against @IrishRugby in #Saturday‘s @rugbyworldcup #quarterfinal 😡#Rugby 🏉#RugbyUnion🌏#RWC2023🏆#IREvNZL 🇮🇪V🇳🇿
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) October 12, 2023
Ireland does have a slight advantage over the All Blacks. In recent years they have dominated the match-up winning three out of four during the Andy Farrell era and four of the last six matches in this fixture.
While, the veteran Sexton, who is playing in his final World Cup, led his country to a historic 2-1 Test series victory in New Zealand last year.
“I’ve had some great battles against New Zealand over the years, with Ireland and the British and Irish Lions,” Sexton admitted.
“What you learn is every game is as tough as the last. That’s what we’re preparing for, the toughest game we have ever faced, and we are trying to put ourselves in the frame of mind that we are going to be ready for it.”
Being the first Irish captain with a genuine shot to lift the Webb Ellis trophy can be loads of pressure, however, the 38-year-old captain said he has embraced the moment.
“Trying to win a World Cup, it’s something to go and get,” he said.
“It’s not something that puts pressure on me.
“It’s something you dream of – probably not as a kid, because when we were kids we didn’t dream of Ireland winning a World Cup.
“I supposed we have put ourselves in a position to do that now.
” But it’s not something I’ve thought about in terms of my career. I will think about it more when I finish.
“It’s all geared up to Saturday and it’s another massive challenge for this team, the biggest we have faced and we are looking forward to it.”
#TeamAnnouncement: Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has named his matchday squad for Saturday’s World Cup quarterfinal against the All Blacks in Saint-Denis. 👇#RWC2023 #Ireland #NewZealand #AllBlacks #IREvNZL https://t.co/Z3AJqI6soB
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) October 11, 2023