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Ireland's Rugby World Cup team praise fans for overwhelming support as they arrive home

Published 19/10/2015

Joe Schmidt took time to thank the 16th player on the field- the fans- for their unrelenting support
Joe Schmidt took time to thank the 16th player on the field- the fans- for their unrelenting support

Battered and bruised, the "disappointed" Irish team have arrived home from the Rugby World Cup.

The squad touched down in Dublin shortly before 4.30pm, and posed for endless selfies with the adoring throng of fans who had turned up at the airport to give them a heroes welcome home.

Coach Joe Schmidt took time to thank the 16th player on the field- the fans- for their unrelenting support during their time in the tournament.

"It's been overwhelming.  I think the players were blown away, particularly during the French match with the volume of support that was there," he said.

"Even travelling to and from venues, it was unbelievable.  So I suppose on behalf of the squad, thanks for all the support we have had.

"We are incredibly disappointed, but at the same time we are really appreciative of that volume of support we have had."

It is understood that the players, who have now been released back to their clubs, will have a few weeks off before returning to the pitch.

"I know we will have a massive challenge in front of us," the coach said, speaking about the months ahead.

He is now predicting a "massive" Six Nations for the Irish squad.

"I think all the home nations teams are disappointed that there is no one in those semi-finals and we saw the value of Scotland's performance.  Wales almost toppled South Africa.

Ireland's Conor Murray kicks the ball during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland's Conor Murray kicks the ball during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip looks dejected following an Argentina try during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip (left) looks dejected during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip is tackled by Argentina's Matias Alemanno during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Argentina's Juan Imhoff runs forward to score a try during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Argentina's Juan Imhoff runs forward to score a try during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland's Devin Toner reaches for a high ball during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland's Jordi Murphy goes in to score his team's second try during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Matthews/PA Wire.
Ireland's Jordi Murphy (6) celebrates after scoring his team's second try during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Ireland's Jordi Murphy scores his team's second try during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Argentina's Matias Moroni tries to break through Ireland's Robbie Henshaw and Ian Madigan during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald scores a try during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland's Luke Fitzgerald celebrates scoring his try with team-mate Conor Murray during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland fans look on during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Argentina's Pablo Matera and Argentina's Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe tackle Ireland's Robbie Henshaw for the ball during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Argentina's Leonardo Senatore is tackled by Ireland's Dave Kearney during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Ireland's Tommy Bowe receives medical attention during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Argentina's Pablo Matera is tackled by Ireland's Ian Madigan during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Ireland's Robbie Henshaw and Keith Earls tackle Argentina's Matias Moroni during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Argentina's Matias Moroni scores his team's opening try during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Ireland's Robbie Henshaw and Keith Earls tackle Argentina's Matias Moroni during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Argentina's Matias Moroni scores his team's opening try during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Ireland fan prior to the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland fans show support for their team in the stands during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Ireland players sing the national anthem prior to the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland fan prior to the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton during the Rugby World Cup match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

"England will be hurting after going out in the pool stages and we struggled past Italy and the French will be wanting to get back at us.

"So the Six Nations is going to be massive.  And I suppose that's all you can do, you can only turn your eye to the future and try to build into something that will still be a little bit of history for us to go back to back to back in Six Nations which would be a massive challenge."

Irish Independent

Online Editors

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