Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll has revealed the role injured hooker Jerry Flannery played in inspiring Saturday's stunning 15-6 World Cup victory over Australia at Eden Park.
O'Driscoll insists the squad never wavered in their belief they could upset 1/5 favourites Australia during an emotional build-up week. The most stirring moment came when Flannery, the popular Munster player whose career is now in doubt after he was ruled out of the World Cup with a calf injury, presented the team with their jerseys.
"It's nice to back up all our talk from during the week," said O'Driscoll. "There were some very passionate words said by guys who weren't even in the 22. That's where it came from."
He added: "There were some poignant moments throughout the week.
"I don't think a lot of guys will forget Jerry Flannery handing out the jerseys yesterday at the captain's meeting.
"Mentally we were in a place where we felt as though we owed ourselves a big performance.
"Much as we owed the Irish public one, we owed ourselves one first and foremost.
"There was a tension in training and a sense the performance was coming. It was just a matter of making it happen."
Now Ireland need only account for Russia and Italy to secure the easier quarter-final, probably against Wales or Samoa, offering them a tantalising glimpse of the last four.