Carolan hopes New Zealand win can build confidence in all levels of Irish rugby

John Fallon reports from Manchester

VICTORIOUS IRISH COACH Nigel Carolan said his young charges can cherish their historic win over New Zealand for the rest of their careers.

They are the first Irish men’s team to beat New Zealand and Carolan said they should be very proud of what they have achieved.

“To be the first Irish team to beat New Zealand is huge, for these young men who have just achieved that today hopefully it is the start of super careers for them.

“Hopefully it will give them the belief, and any Irish team that we are good and if we can perform as a collective we are hard to beat.”

It’s been a great fortnight for the Galway native. He is also the Connacht academy manager and many of his protégés were part of Pat Lam’s Pro12 winning squad. But he admitted he feared the worst when New Zealand cut the gap in the closing stages but felt his men had the composure to respond.

“Their scores can come from anywhere and we have to be on our toes but once we were in their half, in the last couple of minutes we were comfortable.

“It was very difficult conditions for both teams but we dealt with it very well. The game that we tried to play was maybe a lower risk and high intensity but we seemed to get a return on everything that we did.

“We forced them into making a lot of mistakes which ultimately they paid the price for,” he added.

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