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Andrew Trimble: Ireland must back up thrilling triumph

David Kelly

Published 08/11/2016

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: (L-R) Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip of Ireland celebrates following his team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: (L-R) Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip of Ireland celebrates following his team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: (L-R) Jonny Sexton and Simon Zebo of Ireland celebrate following their team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Rory Best of Ireland celebrates following his team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Dejected New Zealand players look on following their team's 40-29 defeat during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Dejected New Zealand players look on following their team's 40-29 defeat during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Dejected New Zealand players look on following their team's 40-29 defeat during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Joe Schmidt the head coach of Ireland congratulates his players following their 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Jack McGrath of Ireland celebrates following his team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Simon Zebo (L) of Ireland celebrates with teammate Jonny Sexton after scoring his team's fourth try during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Simon Zebo (L) of Ireland celebrates with teammate Jonny Sexton after scoring his team's fourth try during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Ireland's Devin Toner, back, and Jack McGrath, right, defend against New Zealand's Ben Smith, center, during the second half of a rugby match Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Kieran Reid of New Zealand looks on during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip, right, defends against New Zealand's Ben Smith, left, during the second half of a rugby match Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Ireland's Robbie Henshaw, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring against New Zealand during the second half of a rugby match Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Ireland's CJ Stander, center, is tackled by New Zealand's Malakai Fekitoa, left, during the second half of a rugby match Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Ireland's CJ Stander celebrates after a rugby match against New Zealand, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Ireland's Robbie Henshaw, right, scores past New Zealand's Sam Cane, left, during the second half of a rugby match Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Ireland's Joey Carbery, right, celebrates with Josh van der Flier, left, after a rugby match against New Zealand, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
Ireland's supporters cheer on their team during the second half of a rugby match against New Zealand, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Debut cap Scott Barrett of New Zealand touches down to score his team's third try during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of New Zealand hands off CJ Stander of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of New Zealand hands off CJ Stander of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of New Zealand wins lineout ball under pressure from CJ Stander of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of New Zealand wins lineout ball under pressure from CJ Stander of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: CJ Stander of Ireland wins lineout ball during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Beauden Barrett of New Zealand spills a high ball during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Robbie Henshaw of Ireland is snagged by Dane Coles of New Zealand during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Robbie Henshaw of Ireland hands off Dane Coles of New Zealand during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Ireland players celebrate their 40-29 victory as the final whistle blows during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Ireland fans celebrate their team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Ireland fans celebrate their team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Ireland fans celebrate their team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Ireland fans celebrate their team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Ireland fans celebrate their team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Ireland fans celebrate their team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Donnacha Ryan (L) of Ireland celebrates following his team's 40-29 victory during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: The injured George Moala of New Zealand receives treatment during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: The injured George Moala of New Zealand receives treatment during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: The injured George Moala of New Zealand receives treatment during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: The injured George Moala of New Zealand receives treatment during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Liam Squire of the New Zealand All Blacks is tackled during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: A New Zealand fan cheers on her team fan during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: An Ireland fan is apprehended by security as he attempts to celebrate with Jamie Heaslip of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
The All Blacks perform the haka during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Image was created as an Equirectangular Panorama. Import image into a panoramic player to create an interactive 360 degree view.) The teams line up for the anthems during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Beauden Barrett of New Zealand spills a high ball during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Kieran Reid of New Zealand looks on during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of New Zealand claims a ball during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of New Zealand claims a ball during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Referee Mathieu Raynal of France speaks with Kieran Reid of New Zealand during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Joe Moody of New Zealand is hauled down by CJ Stander of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Aaron Cruden of New Zealand is tackled by Conor Murray of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Joe Moody of New Zealand is hauled down by CJ Stander of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Referee Mathieu Raynal of France officiates during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of the New Zealand All Blacks takes the ball in the lineout during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Owen Franks of the New Zealand All Blacks is tackled by CJ Stander of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Owen Franks of the New Zealand All Blacks is tackled by CJ Stander of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Beauden Barrett of the New Zealand All Blacks spills the high ball during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Beauden Barrett of the New Zealand All Blacks spills the high ball during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of the New Zealand All Blacks takes a catch during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: George Moala of the New Zealand All Blacks is injured during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Robbie Henshaw of Ireland is smothered by players after scoring a try during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of the New Zealand All Blacks heads for a try during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of the New Zealand All Blacks heads for a try during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of the New Zealand All Blacks heads for a try during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Ryan Crotty of the New Zealand All Blacks leaves the field injured during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of the New Zealand All Blacks scores a try during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Simon Zebo of Ireland takes a catch during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Scott Barrett of the New Zealand All Blacks scores a try during the international match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field on November 5, 2016 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Dawn breaks at Carton House and two men of Ulster hit the Montgomerie course. Andrew Trimble cannot confirm that Rory Best nearly drove the first.

Then again, it's easy to believe anything is possible with this squad now.

"It feels pretty special," said Ulster wing Trimble, part of Ireland's historic victory over the All Blacks in Chicago on Saturday. "It still hasn't fully sunk in what we managed to achieve. We're still kind of pinching ourselves. Myself and Rory were trying to come to terms with just how big an occasion it was.

"The performance, the atmosphere at the game, Chicago in general. It was a really special week and a really special weekend for everyone involved.

"So we are trying to enjoy it for what it is and then trying to get back to a bit of normality and another game this weekend."

That's the problem with history. It's, well, history. Canada may interrupt this November's mouth-watering mini-series but already the rematch with the world's No.1 side looms large.

In chastened New Zealand, they are labelling it "Takedown Two".

Ireland climbed to fifth in the world rankings after their stunning success but that statistic itself reflected Irish history.

Although Joe Schmidt's men have twice conquered Europe, their successes against southern hemisphere sides may have been fruitful but they remain stubbornly fitful.

History beckoned once more in South Africa last summer when they won their first ever Test match on African soil but ultimate success was denied by two successive defeats.

Now comes the time to write more history; only 11 teams have won back-to-back Tests against New Zealand in the same year; South Africa, twice, in 1998 and 2009, and Australia, also in 1998, the only to do so in the professional era.

"A lot of sides can produce a big one-off performance but if we are going to challenge ourselves to be competing with southern hemisphere teams and England, then we have to back it up," Trimble (pictured with Craig Gilroy) conceded.

"That's a big, big challenge. All your energy just goes into one massive, big effort and you just fall flat on the floor exhausted knowing that you have achieved something special.

"To get up and go at it again, put in the same amount of homework and train as hard and know the game plan inside out like we did, is a challenge.

"Realistically, as well, you need to go beyond that level because they will perform better than we did on Saturday because they will be hurting.

"They are a very proud group of rugby players and they will be devastated. They will come with a massive backlash and we will have to meet that and go beyond that."

The rarity of defeat - and the even rarer presence of the feat being immediately repeated - confirms that New Zealand are armed with extraordinary mental resilience, aside from the renowned rugby ability that was so utterly undermined by Ireland's rapacious performance.

How much their confidence will be affected remains a moot point; how much Ireland's will be boosted is also uncertain.

For Trimble reveals that the Irish squad were constantly wrestling doubt before and even during Saturday's win.

"Hopefully we can bring the right amount of confidence. Confidence in ourselves. It's a little bit of a wrestle," he said.

"Psychologically, you are sort of wrestling with yourself, trying to convince yourself to believe that we were capable of doing that.

"And you are wrestling with those doubts in the run up to the game as well, which is very understandable when you are facing a side like they are, one of the best sides in history.

"We had enough belief in ourselves that we could do it, that we could get over the line. We achieved something really remarkable. So we have learned from that that we can believe in ourselves and know we are capable of in the future.

"But at the same time, we know we are only capable of that performance whenever we put the work in and get our head space right.

"So there is a balance to strike in having the right amount of belief and then taking confidence from that.

"When they scored early on, don't get me wrong, that mentality is not perfect. There are doubts.

"They score after three minutes and you are wondering if you are going to be under the cosh for the next 80 minutes. This could unravel here!

"But we showed that mental fortitude to step up and take ownership of the game. That is something we are very proud of.

"But at half-time, everyone is thinking the same thing. This is going the same way it did before.

"It's very tempting to pay lip service to stuff, for it to be a cliché, keep positive, keep attacking them, keep going at them. But in the back of your mind you are going, 'Please, can we just hang in for 40 minutes?'

"But we had a number of leaders who made crucial tactical decisions. Rory, Jonny Sexton, Conor Murray, these guys stood up and were brave.

"We went at them and called plays that were going to make us uncomfortable.

"Because if you get them wrong, you are under the cosh. But if you get them right? Simon Zebo puts that chip up the line at the end and puts us in a great position. We stood up and took the game to them."

Now they must re-set and attempt to do it all over again.

"It's just so difficult to go out with a positive mindset and to believe that it's possible to beat the All Blacks because hardly anybody does it," added Trimble.

"You're wrestling with yourself mentally to go out there with the mindset to try and convince yourself that you're good enough to do it.

"People laugh at you if you say to them, 'we're going to go out and beat the All Blacks at the weekend'. It's not something that just happens."

But it did. Only they can decide if it can happen again.

Belfast Telegraph

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