Alan Dymock is the Features Editor for Rugby World magazine. (CNN)In its entire history, Ireland has never made it past the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup. In eight attempts, it has failed to make it into the last four — and in 1999 lost a play-off to make the quarters, against Argentina, while in 2007 the men in green couldn’t get past the initial pool stage. Yet after Irish exploits in 2018, hope swelled that the Rugby World Cup in Japan the next year would be very, very different. That year Ireland won a Six Nations grand slam, defeating all its northern hemisphere rivals. On the summer tour Ireland won a series away to Australia, 2-1. In November, as well as beating Italy, Argentina and the US, it toppled the world No. 1 All Blacks 16-9 in Dublin. At the World Rugby awards at the end of the year, coach Joe Schmidt was named coach of the year, fly-half Johnny Sexton was player of the year, and the side won team of the year. Read More Ireland was on a roll… But 2019 has been different. In this year’s Six Nations, losses to England and Wales had some wondering… Read full this story
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