Partner link: We Can Achieve All Our Dreams – even a hungry 16 year old’s

A hungry 16 year old kid

sat in the corner of a poor South African townsland pub watching SA beat England in the final of the Rugby World Cup, Paris 2007. Wide-eyed and hungry that kid’s name was Siya Kolisi. This Saturday, Kolisi, leads the South African team onto the pitch in the 2019 RWC Final v England in Yokohama Stadium, Japan. SA’s first black captain carries the hopes and dreams of the whole of the ‘rainbow nation’.

Siya’s Mother Was 16

Kolisi’s mother, Phakama, was 16 when Siya was born and his father, Fezakele, was in his final year of school. Both were teenagers. Phakama sadly died when Siya was at the tender age of 15, leaving his grandmother, Nolulamile, to raise him. Phakama died shortly afterwards.

Siya thinking
Siya Kolisi lost his mother at the tender age of 15

Hunger Makes You Do Things

“It’s tough to stay on the right path because sometimes hunger makes you do things that you never thought you would do” says Siya. Sport was “my way out”. He played on a dirt pitch with just his jockey shorts (that’s all he had) and was spotted and taken to his local club, African Bombers.

Siya's Early Team
The early days

SA’s First Black Captain

A few years later, former Munster Coach, Rassie Erasmus (now SA coach) picked Springbok’s first black captain in May 2016 appointed Kolisi as the Springboks’ first black captain in its 126-year history. On Saturday’s colossal captain Kolisi wins his 50th Test cap.

Siya clapping the crowd
Siya and team say ‘thanks’

Captain Colossal Kolisi married Rachel Smith, a former marketing executive, in 2016. They have two children from their inter-racial marriage, and since 2014, his half-siblings (children of his late mother), became part of the Kolisi household, (after five years in orphanages and foster care in nearby Port Elizabeth).

Siya and Rachel
Siya and Rachel

Caring Kolisi

“He looks after the poorest communities and clubs in Zwide. He is playing a vital role to change the lives of youngsters and players” says his primary school trainer, Eric Songwiqi (who brought him up to the local club, African Bombers). Kolisi’s roots remain in Zwide. Hefrequently revisits and has  ploughed back into the community, and the school where he played rugby. He is not looking after himself alone” says Mr Songwigi.

Siya Kolisi helps children in local schools
Siya Kolisi helps children in local schools

Kolisi’s Rainbow Nation

“We have many different races in our country, and we have 11 official languages. It’s one of the positives in our country; it’s really beautiful and that’s why we’re called the Rainbow Nation. We have different races in the team as well, which is really beautiful, and I think it’s very important for the country for us to do well, and for us as a team” says Siya Kolisi.

It Would Change The Trajectory Of Our Country

The 2007 Rugby World Cup winning South African captain, John Smit says “It was iconic when Francois lifted the World Cup with Madiba (Mandela) 1995, and it was amazing to be able to do it myself with Thabo, but if Siya touches that trophy on Saturday… I tell you, it will be a far greater moment than 1995. Far greater. It would change the trajectory of our country.”  Wow,  powerful words from one hero captain about a new hero captain – whether they win, lose or draw in the Land Of The Rising Sun, this Saturday.

Winning the RWC would It change the trajectory of our country


We can achieve all our dreams

“It just shows that when we decide to work together for one goal as a team or a country we can make anything happen. We can achieve all our dreams or goals. That’s why we want to give our best this week and hopefully do the same in the final.” says Colossal Captain Kolisi, a real South African hero.

Siya in the company of some Japanese friends
We can all achieve our dreams


Visit Siya’s Instagram page   siya_kolisi_the_bear

He Taught Us How To Forgive ………… Nelson Mandela 1918 – 2013


Partner link: 18 Year Old English Rugby Player Kicked In The Teeth – Gets Up On The Horse Again

Have you ever been let down? Disappointed? Dejected?

Here’s the story of a brilliant young rugby player, Mathew Tait, who won his first cap at 18 years of age. He played ok. He was described by Mike Catt as “the future of English rugby”. BUT THEN, SURPRISINGLY, HE WAS DROPPED after that first game (against Wales). His dream was destroyed. His bubble burst. How did he pick himself up? How do you pick yourself back up after a set-back?  He came back played brilliant rugby and won 38 caps.  Here is his amazing story……about what happens when you get kicked in the teeth…..

Partner link: Rugby World Cup Shock: Japan 19 Ireland 12

Japanese Newspapers Hail Their Heroes
Japanese Newspapers Hail Their Heroes

They’ve done it again. Japan the underdogs, deservedly beat Ireland (ranked no.2 in the world) in RWC 2019, after their previous shock win over South Africa in the RWC 2015.  In a word the Japanese were magnificent. Relentless energy, pace, strong tackling and exciting running with man-to-man battles all over the park.  Japan were the better team. They had the savage hunger of Munster. They played like men possessed from beginning to end.. Congratulations to them. They were magnificent.

It’s been coming ever since the Triple Crown winning 1985 Irish rugby team first toured Japan.  That Japan would host a world cup let alone beat Ireland was unthinkable when Ireland first toured Japan in 1985. The IRFU didn’t even award caps for the two test matches! However, the signs were there.  The second Test in 1985 was 12-12 at half time, with Ireland eventually pulling away 33-15, however,  “It was the most physical match I’d ever played in until then” said the Irish captain, Ciaran Fitzgerald.  So the signs were there. Here’s a few memories…..

They were fierce courteous

“They’d start bowing, then you’d bow a bit more, but they’d even bow lower, and then you’d almost be banging your head on the floor” recalls Irish winger, Moss Finn, good-naturedly. “They were fierce courteous.”  Finn recalls “The most difficult part of the day was the race to nab these enormous prawns at the post-match buffet.” Rugby, back then, was a past-time, not a profession. When wing Terry McMaster got injured, he had to find his own way home; he would never play for Ireland.

I had to postpone my wedding

“I had to postpone my wedding” remembers wing-forward, Paddy Kenny,   It took Kenny another 7 years to win his one and only Irish cap. “Mercifully, his prospective bride, Colleen*, was a daughter of the great Irish wing forward, Jim Fitzpatrick, one of the famed back-row trio from the 1948 Grand Slam team. “I had some support,” Kenny smiles.

Then the Karaoke starts

After the food, a few beers, including karaoke, where Donal Lenihan and Ralph Keyes goaded  Moss Finn to ask the DJ if he had ‘The Green Green Grass of Home.’ He did.  “I wouldn’t be like Mike Kiernan, he did Rod Stewart better then Rod Stewart himself. I could have been singing ‘An Poc Ar Buile’ for all they knew. It went down like a bag of manure. Our crowd were in stitches of course. But when I finished, silence! Ah look,’ says I . ‘Not a dry eye in the house.!”

As they traveled home

As they traveled home from that June 1985 tour, talks about a World Cup were advancing steadily. Few thought it would happen.: fewer still that one day, Japan would not only host the tournament but also face Ireland and ultimately beat Ireland (the number two team in the world).

My father said

My father used to say ‘we’ll rise again’  and now, more than ever before, Ireland must rise again in the land of the rising sun.

New friendships emerge

Despite Ireland’s 2019 RWC loss, friends are made between Japanese and Irish fans.

2019 Irish and Japanese fans mingling
2019 Irish and Japanese fans mingling

In some cases lifelong friends just like the remarkable photo (below) of a South African fan embracing a Japanese fan in 2015 after Japan shocked the world by beating South Africa. In fact it is hard to see who won and who lost! The SA fan acknowledged, in fact admired, what Japan had achieved. The tearful Japanese fan’s little girl is buried somewhere in the middle of the huddle.

South African fan hugs Japanese fan
2015 It’s hard to tell who won as the smiling SA fan congratulates the tearful Japanese fan

They swapped shirts later.  In fact, the Japanese fan invited the SA fan to come and stay with him in during the next Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019!

Japanese & S African fans swap shirts
SA fan wearing Japanese shirt and Japanese fan wearing SA shirt

This is the magic of the Rugby World Cup. Congratulations to Japan, for being outstanding hosts and for playing wonderful rugby against Ireland in #RWC2019.  Japan deserved to win.  Hearty congratulations to them.   As Irish coach Joe Schmidt said: “They are a tremendous side, they did really well and congratulations to them.”

   * Coleen Kenny has actually posted a comment about her father Jim, quoting her the Great Sportsmanship Verse ‘When The Great Scorekeeper ComesTo Write Against Your Name…’

Thanks to David Kelly of the Irish Independent and his excellent article: Ireland’s first tour to Land of Rising Sun 28 Sep 2019

If you like this you might also like:

Rugby World Cup 2015 – A Photographic Celebration  

Meet The World’s Bravest Rugby Player

Why Kiwis love Munster: Silence was broken by a dog barking outside the packed stadium.

A Maori Prayer for Donal Caniffe’s Dad

60 Of The Best – Great Quotes from Bill McLaren (part 1 of 4)






Partner link: English Rugby Shock – Sandbagged by Ireland One Month Before RWC  

Ireland rugby delivered what could be the greatest sandbagging in the history of the game we know and love – on Saturday 24 August against England in Twickenham – ‘the home of rugby’ with the 57-15 result.

New Zealand’s World Cup Winning coach,Steve Hansen, had previously sandbagged Ireland in Lansdowne Road back in Nov 2018.  The ABs gave away a lot of possession by launching an unusual amount of high balls to the Irish full back, Kearney.   The ABs wanted to learn how Ireland react to the high ball – counter or kick. Yes, the ABs wanted to win, but more importantly, they wanted to learn about their opponents as they may meet them in the knock out stages in RWC 2019.

Rob Kearney and PR Smith
Ireland’s Rob Kearney dealt with the ABs high balls magnificently

The term ‘sand-bagging’ originates from sailing when boats carried bags of sand to slow them down, until they dump the bags and then speed up and sail through.

The Irish sandbagging of England surely must be the finest sandbagging ever seen in the history of rugby with an emphatic 57-15 scoreline. Even the ABs never attained as significant a sandbagging as that in their long and successful history.





Irish Team rushes English conversion
Ireland go through the motions after completing the perfect sand-bagging of England  


England coach, Eddie Jones
England coach, Eddies Jones, was one of the few that realised England had been very heavily sandbagged on the day

‘The worrying thing’ says England coach, Eddie Jones, ‘is that no matter how I try to explain the intricacies of the this very heavy sandbagging, the whole squad to  a man just cannot see it as they are busy running round in  their own little Noddy-Land – in their own little rugby bubble – singing ‘lawdeedaw’…..  they simply have no idea what a sandbagging we suffered today.’

After the 57-15 result, the Irish team and squad members floated across the Twickenham turf  to the Irish fans, knowing that this has been the biggest sand-bagging of the century. Some say – ‘ever’!  The year before, Ireland reversed the psychology and literally beat England off the park from the very first minute in Twickenham to win the 2018 Grand Slam.  After that genius joe (Schmidt) Ireland’s inspirational coach declared at the begininng of the 2019 season that from here on Ireland must focus on the RWC.  And they have. Including bringing Steve Hanson and the All Blacks sandbagging approach to a new level. Such is the advanced psychology of the game today.

Can Ireland sandbag the Welsh in Cardiff this Saturday and then stop the ‘learnings’ and start to crank it up for the return game in Dublin a week later? If  ‘No’ and Ireland decide to beat Wales back-to-back then Ireland will go into this RWC as the number one ranked team in the world. If  ‘yes’,  and Ireland choose more sandbagging then it is clear that Irish rugby is in a very good place and will be ready and primed for the imminent RWC in the land of the rising sun.


Irish fans know
Irish fans know


Roll on the rugby. Best of luck to all teams – may it be a mighty Rugby World Cup contest.



Why do referees say ‘No Side’ after blowing the final whistle?

Partner link: Love Peace No Racism No Sexism No Violence No Homophobia

What brilliant usage of signage on steps into the stand in Whitehawk FC, a non-league football club with a passion for football and what’s right in life.  The fans don’t tolerate an ‘ism’ of any kind. They don’t tolerate small minded bias and they even chant: “Homophobia, we say NO!”, “Sexism, we say NO!”

Based on the south coast of England in Brighton, they are the city’s second biggest football club, and  work hard to create a sense of inclusion for all, as well as supporting their team and other causes.

Whitehawks FC signage on the steps in the stand: Love, Peace, No Racism, No Sexism, No Violence, No Homophobia

Excellent Signage

Crowd-funded by Whitehawk fans, 30 children affected by the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower in Shepherd’ Bush, West London, spent a welcome day at the seaside, and were matchday mascots for the game on the day.  This was a wonderful day for the inner city kids who will remember their day by the beach. It was also a show of solidarity from a non-league club community with a big heart on the south coast of England supporting another community far away in London. This means alot to the Justice4Grenfell community and it campaign back in west London.

A great club, great compassion and strong values, Whitehawk FC.

Drop into Whitehawk’s ‘Community Day’ lined up for March 30  – a celebration of the East Brighton Community as the team continue their ‘Great Escape’ from the nether regions of the Bostik Premier League…… c’mon you hawks!

#Grenfell #Whitehawks

Partner link: ‘Enemies on the Bays and Best of Friends Off It’  Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ding Junhui

‘Enemies on the Bays and Best of Friends Off It’ said the commentator as two of snooker’s great competitors embraced, for some time, after their semi-final Masters battle was over.

Ronnie O'Sullivan's Instagram photo (he and Ding Junhui smiling together)

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Instagram photo and comment says it all ‘What a match against my brother Ding’.

This is sportsmanship around the snooker table.

Warm words between the two of them. Ronnie O’Sullivan is a big fan of Ding Junhui. They leave the hall, arm in arm, friends forever.


Ronnie O’Sullivan has form when it comes to great sportsmanship.  He oozes it and he receives it.  Consider both of these beautiful O’Sullivan snooker stories.

No1. Snooker’s Snooker Beats Finalist But Delivers Winner Of 2014 Sportsmanship Moments 

Some still say that the 2014 UK Championship final between young Judd Trump & the then 5 times winner, Ronnie O’Sullivan,  was the greatest snooker final ever. Full of twists and turns and great sportsmanship.  Trump somehow came back from 9-4 down to 9-9 making breaks of 120 and 127 to level the contest, but he was lured into playing a foul, from an O’Sullivan snooker in the last frame and Judd Trump stood up and conceded the final frame to O’Sullivan…. Trump smiled and beamed as he and Ronnie spoke intimately and passionately.

Thailand’s New Snooker Star, Sunny Akani, Thanks Ronnie O’Sullivan 

The smiling new snooker kid from Thailand, Sunny Akani, won everyone over with his dashing snooker, and huge smile all the way through the match, which he should have won (Ronnie agrees). It’s the post-match interview that says it all when Ronnie says that Sunny smile has won the world over to him.  Sunny replies, whilst beaming a great big smile: ‘Thank you for the game!’

There was another moment of magical sportsmanship by Ronnie – did anyone see it – regarding not taking a 3rd penalty to win the match?  Tell us if you did. Post a reply/comment below.


Thanks to Pat Foley for alerting me to this story.

Partner link: Top 10 Sportsmanship Moments 2018 (part 2 of 2)

BBC Radio London broadcasted our Top 10 Moments – you can hear it here & or see the photos below.

BBC Radio London Top Ten Sportsmanship Moments 2018

Part 1 covered the 10th best to the 6th best sportsmanship moments from 2018. Part 2 covers the Top 5 moments including the number 1 Sportsmanship moment from 2018.

5th Place Athletics: Exhausted Aussies Wait For Lesotho’s Last Place Runner

The Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast produced a moment of sportsmanship – which many missed if you didn’t watch until way after the end of the 10k women’s race.

Long after Stelle Chesang the Ugandan star, won gold & long after most of the other competitors had left the track, the three exhausted Australian runners Eloise Wellings, Madeline Hills and Celia Sullohern stayed on the track …waiting … some 3 minutes for the final runner, Lesotho’s, Lineo Chaka, to finally cross the line.

The 3 Australian athletes applauded & congratulated her on completion of one of the most physically demanding events in sport.  Out of courtesy and respect, they waited for the last runner, the lone runner to complete the race.  

A golden moment of sportsmanship from the Gold Coast of Australia.

4th Place GOLF: European Captain Hugs American Tiger

2018 was a Ryder Cup year (every two years) full of expectation, tension and excitement

You might recall that Tiger Woods had been struggling with his game for some time but just before the Ryder Cup kicked off in September, he finally won his first competition in 5 years. Tiger was back!

The Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup

So although the newly revived Tiger posed a great threat to Europe, when Tiger Woods stepped onto the 1st tee, Europe’s captain, Thomas Bjørn (Denmark), gave Tiger a big bear hug, a shake of the hand and a welcome to a wonderful battle of sport.

3rd Place Motor Racing: “I lost my legs but not my daredevil spirit”

When it comes to bravery and fighting spirit, this quote from 19 year old Billy Monger says it all:   “I lost my legs but not my daredevil spirit”.

19 year old Billy Monger aka Billy Whizz

Billy Monger, F4 racing driver, had both his legs amputated after an horrendous crash during a Formula 4 race at Donington Park in April 2017.

He returned to racing in March 2018 – the British Formula 3 Championship – less than a year after the accident.

‘Billy Whizz’ then claimed his maiden British F3 pole position on his return to Donington Park in September. He also finished on the podium in 3rd place.

So if you things go wrong for you – think of 19 year old Billy Monger’s words:

“I lost my legs but not my daredevil spirit”

2nd Place BOXING:  This Man Is The Epitome of Great Sportsmanship

Anthony Joshua is a British Heavyweight boxer who holds four world heavyweight titles. He is also an absolute gentleman and an icon of sportsmanship. Here’s why…..

Anthony Joshua enters the defeated Russian, Alexander Povetkin dressing room

After his last fight, his opponent Russian, Alexander Povetkin, sat slumped in his dressing room, when there was knock on the door.

The Russian fighter looked up and saw Joshua, walk in.  Joshua bowed to the Russian, and said “Respect! You are a great boxer”.

Joshua then said that he’d like to visit Russia. Povetkin smiled through his bruised and battered face and invitingly welcomed him by saying “anytime”.

One other extraordinary thing that happened during this fight was both fighters tapped gloves at the start & end of each round. Not everyone agrees with this – but one thing we do agree on is that there was great respect between these two fighters.

Anthony Joshua always shows great respect for opponents, before, during and after each fight. Joshua is an icon of great sportsmanship.

1st Place Football: An Open Letter Dripping With Kindness Remembering Ray Wilkins

A beautiful story, in fact, an open letter written by Nigel Quashie about Ray Wilkins who died 4th April 2018.

If you recall Ray Wilkins won 84 caps for England and captained his country 10 times. He also captained Chelsea at the tender age of 18. He played for Man U, Chelsea, AC Milan, Glasgow Rangers and QPR as a player-manager, a rare thing to see these days.

Nigel Quashie played 300+ matches in professional leagues notably with QPR, Notts Forest, West Brom, Portsmouth, Southampton West Ham and then came back to QPR. He also played for Scotland. He was a lovely midfield player.  He now runs his own academy IPDA.

When Ray Wilkins died this year, Nigel Quashie wrote an open message to Ray Wilkins and his family which he posted instagram Nigel.Quashie. Here it is:

I will always be proud to say how lucky I am to have been coached, managed and to even meet you, if it wasn’t for you I would never have started my career playing football.

I will never forget going to Manchester United as a YTS trainee to do all the kit and boots in the changing room for the first team squad [Aug 1995]. 1 hour 30 minutes before kick-off you name the team and I was in it and that’s how my debut went,  I didn’t even get to think about it because all you said was you’re number 18, here are your boots and shin pads, just go out and play, have fun, and treat it like your over the park with your mates.

My mum never had a mobile phone back then because we couldn’t afford anything like that and everything went through her work or home phone.

I asked you after the game if I could call home to speak to her, you said ‘use my mobile and call this number’, it was my mum on the other end of the line and she said she was outside by the away team bus.

I went outside to see her I asked how did you get here because I knew she couldn’t afford it. She told me Ray has got the club to pay for her train ticket to come to the game and then told me that Ray got the club to give us our first mobile phone in life during the week, and he wanted to surprise me knowing I was making my debut.

I was given a chance by Ray Wilkins, one of the legends of the game and to this day you are the first person I mention when it comes to football and that will never change.

You will be missed so much, not just in the football world but as a real human being with such class. Thanks for everything and my thoughts go to all the family, sleep well, Sir Ray Wilkins.

Nigel Quashie’s Instagram Message about Ray Wilkins

Part 1 contains another 5 great stories from 2018 including a stunning photograph capturing another footballing moment of magic from Colombian & Mexican fans to an Egyptian Fan.

See how these compare to Top 10 Moments Of Sportsmanship 2017  or

Top 10 Moments of Sportsmanship 2016

If you like these stories – join us and spread the word – share these stories and become an ambassador (looks great on your CV and Linkedin Page).

Partner link: Top 10 Sportsmanship Moments 2018 (part 1 of 2)

Here are the Top 10 moments from 2018 – in reverse order. Part 1 covers 10th best moment to 6th best moment and Part 2 cover 5th best to 1st best moment of sportsmanship from 2018.

10th Football: 2018 World Cup Football in Russia

The 10th best moment this year was captured by a great photograph of fans from Colombia and Mexico lifting a disabled Egyptian fan in his wheelchair so that he can see Egypt playing on the big screen in the fan zone area.

Mexican & Columbian fans lift an Egyptian wheelchair-bound fan to see his team play

A proud Egyptian (in the wheelchair), waving his flag whilst held aloft by Mexican and Colombian fans. It’s a beautiful moment.

9th Rugby: Post-Match Kiwi Tweet to Irish Victor

I was in Dublin when Ireland beat the All Blacks in November. It was 80 minutes of the most intense test rugby I have ever seen. I was also lucky enough to be in Chicago two years ago when we beat them for the first time (in 111 of trying). But this game in Dublin was so intense It was a savage man-to-man battle that raged for 80+ minutes……like 80 minutes of common assault.

After this intense battle  TJ Perenara  (number 21), who leads the Haka, tweeted a beautiful message to Ireland’s Kiwi-born centre, Bundee Aki:

Kiwi sends a message of love, respect and excitement about their next battle

Nothing but love my brother @bundeeAki. Congrats to you and the team.  Looking forward to the next one bro.

8th ATHLETICS Young American Refuses Shot Putt Qualification for the Regionals

This is a story about an ordinary 17 year old American schoolboy, Davis Robey, who throws the shot put (one of the original Ancient Olympic sports) for Mason High School and dreams of one day qualifying for the Ohio Regionals.

The shot putt is one of the original ancient Olympic sports

An official scorer announced Robey in fourth place with a throw of 137 feet. He’d finally qualified for the Regionals. But Robey refused as he knew he only threw 132 foot.h

He alerted the judges to the error and forfeited his dream of competing in the Regionals.

A sound young man who places integrity above ‘success’ and even such a young age, Davis Robey is an icon of sportsmanship.

7th TENNIS  Superstar Urges Sports People to Use Their Power To Influence & Inspire Others

Billy Jean King, American former World No. 1 professional tennis player (39 Grand Slam titles) and an activist who fought for equal rights for all.

When she received her Lifetime Achievement Award from BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Award, a week ago, Billy Jean said that ‘everyone is an influencer and that, in particular, sports people are influencers. She went on and urged all sportsmen and sportswomen to use their influence to inspire other people.  

Billy Jean King continues to relentlessly campaign for equal rights for all

Even at 75 years of age, Billy Jean King is still an activist, still encouraging others to stand up for equal rights for all.  

6th BOXING:   When The Going Gets Tough, Heavyweight Helps Mental Health Sufferers

This is an example of a sportsperson influencing & inspiring. Just a few weeks ago, Tyson Fury was knocked down in the final round and somehow managed to beat the count and get back on his feet. Why or how did he get back up? Here’s his answer:

Many men would have stayed down after getting knocked down by Deontay Wilder, but, I wanted to show the world that anything was possible. And no matter what you’ve been through in your life and no matter what you are going through, you always…always must continue to get up and keep going forward and fight back.

The Gypsy King’ heavyweight boxer sends the kindest message to those suffering from mental health issues

We need to spread the word about mental health – more – in sport, because there’s a lot of people still living in darkness and afraid to come out and speak about it publicly, but if I can do it, a big heavyweight champion of the world, 6’9” 18 stone –  I’m supposed to be a big tough guy, anybody can do it. Anybody can come out and get help, for sure. Get professional help.

An extraordinary message of hope from a big heavyweight boxer to anyone suffering from mental health issues   – never give up and get professional help.   

Part 2 contains the 5th best to number 1 sportsmanship moment from 2018 and it really is something extraordinarily beautiful gesture made by a professional sports person……

Partner link: Kiwi Captain Applauds Irish Fans

A savage man-to-man battle raged for over 80 minutes and finally, after over 100 years of trying, Ireland beat the All Blacks, in Dublin’s, Lansdowne Road, the oldest international rugby venue in the world (now called the AVIVA).

The atmosphere was electric. The number 1 & number 2 teams in the world were playing each other less than a year away from the Rugby World Cup.  Ireland had already beaten the ABs in Chicago in 2006 for the first time, ever. So many felt it was pay-back time for the ABs, while Ireland felt they have come of age.

The All Blacks delivered a different variation of the Haka, some said as they willed, demanded and roared their demand for a different result to their last meeting. You can feel the tension in the stadium.

Sexton Converts

Then the relentless All Blacks just kept coming. Ireland kept on hitting them backwards. Relentless stuff. The crowd helps the team by singing the Fields of Athenry. The players can hear it.

It’s over. Ireland 16 All Blacks 9. The first ever Irish win against the All Blacks on Irish soil in over 100 years of trying.  The players , on both sides, gave everything. They ’emptied themselves’ in a passionate, highly skilled and very very hard game of rugby. The players embrace.

There is something magical about rugby – 80 minutes of savage confrontation and when the whistle blows it’s all over. They shake hands and embrace each other as true warriors.

There is something magical about rugby – 80 minutes of savage confrontation and when the whistle blows it’s all over. They shake hands and embrace each other as true warriors.

And I am surrounded by 3 Mullarkeys (Martin, Tommy and Aran) – what splendid company on an historic day for Irish rugby.

3 Mullarkeys - Martin, Tommy and Aran
The Mullarkeys (thanks Martin for the ticket!)


Kiwi TJ Perenara and Ireland' Bundee Aki (born in NZ) embrace after the battle.
Kiwi TJ Perenara and Ireland’ Bundee Aki embrace after the battle.

This wonderful photo (from @inphosports ) of Kiwi scrum half (who leads the Haka), TJ Perenara, embracing the Kiwi born, Irish centre, Bundee Aki.   TJ later sent a beautiful tweet and photo to Bundee afterwards:


Nothing but love my brother @bundeeaki.  Congrats to you and the team. Looking forward to the next one  bro. ⚫ : @inphosports


Quite magnificent really. In fact magnanimous!  All the All Blacks were very good losers in a very clean, yet incredibly intense battle.

The ABs coach, Steve Hansen, honourably said that Ireland deserved to win.  All the players embraced after the match.

Irish rugby hero, Tony Ward, called the All Black captain, Kieran Read, “a class act and a role model’ … “To see him exit the field last to depart and clapping the Irish crowd under the West stand was a sight to behold.”

“A most appropriate end to the perfect day.”



If you like this you might also like:

Kieran Read’s beaming smile after the Lions drew with the ABs

Magnificent Maori Gesture at Start of Munster Game


ABs marched in on their knees singing ‘hi ho’ to the post match dinner after losing to Munster in 1978

A Maori Prayer for Donal Caniffe’s Dad

Meanwhile, please do post a comment, in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section below.

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