Former UCD duo hail Irish rugby fans in New Zealand

by Aaron Dunne
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FORMER UCD stars Andrew Porter and Josh van der Flier have spoken of how they were blown away by how visible and vocal the Irish supporters were at Wellington’s Sky Stadium as Andy Farrell’s men completed an hiostoric series trimph.

Ireland fans travelled from across New Zealand, Australia and Ireland, and even further afield, to watch history being made as Andy Farrell’s side secured a famous series victory by winning the third Test on a 32-22 scoreline.

Despite a terrific first half display that netted Ireland three tries and a 22-3 lead, they came under immense pressure during the closing 40 minutes which including prop Porter’s own sin-binning for a high tackle. 

When he returned to the pitch, the All Blacks had closed the gap to 25-22, but Ireland’s response was swift. Going to the corner from a penalty, Ireland drove menacingly from the maul and Rob Herring broke off to score what proved to be the match-winning try.

9 July 2022; Andrew Porter of Ireland celebrates with teammate Josh van der Flier, right, after scoring his side’s second try during the Steinlager Series match between New Zealand and Ireland at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The travelling support was in full voice from ‘Ireland’s Call’ through to a post-match rendition of ‘The Fields of Athenry’ and chants of ‘Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole!’, as the players paraded the Steinlager Series International Cup around the ground known as the ‘Cake Tin’.

Wesley College alumnus Van der Flier felt it was akin to a home match such was a noise generated by those in green, while Porter acknowledged afterwards: “I couldn’t believe how many Irish supporters were out here, you could here them throughout the game.“It was incredible, seeing all the green jerseys, Irish flags, seeing an Ulster flag right now, seeing how far people have travelled to come watch us. Our fans are everything to us.“You’ll never meet a better fanbase with Irish rugby supporters. You’ll always hear them, we heard them today and last week and throughout the series.“

They mean an incredible amount, a driving force for us, and that’s who we’re playing for – we’re playing for our fans, our country, our families and everyone back home as well. “A huge thank you to everyone who’s come out and supported us.”Porter understandably found it difficult to sum up the magnitude of beating the All Blacks in a Test series. He hopes the summer tour of 2022 will have a long-lasting impact on Irish rugby and those that dream of following in his footsteps.“

It’s unbelievably hard to put it into words how this feels. You spend your whole life growing up, seeing Ireland play against the All Blacks, and the results we had in the past.”“100%, we weren’t happy with one Test victory,” Van der Flier  told RTÉ. “We came out with the intent of having a good start today and we got that through the boys putting in an unbelievable shift.”

5 February 2022; Andrew Porter, left, and Josh van der Flier of Ireland celebrate after the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Ireland Test heroes and former UCD players Andrew Porter and Josh van der Flier in action against the All Blacks in New Zealand

Main image – Andrew Porter of Ireland celebrates with teammate Josh van der Flier, above, after scoring his side’s second try during the Steinlager Series match between New Zealand and Ireland at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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