Josh van der Flier reveals classy reaction All Blacks had to Irish victors
The measure of true champions is how they react to adversity.
As Richie McCaw told us on Friday, no All Blacks player wants to be the first to lose a Test match to Ireland.
On Saturday at Soldier Field, 23 All Blacks [they needed all of them] became the first to fall to an Irish team. There is no shame in losing to the better team though. That team - no doubt about it - was Ireland.
18 Test wins but the run stopped in Chicago.
In the raw moments that came after their first defeat in well over a year, the All Blacks showed their class.
Steve Hansen sought out Joe Schmidt for a warm handshake, Kieran Read shook hands with every Irish player he could find and, all over the pitch, Kiwis congratulated the victors.
Following Ireland's 40-29 victory, Josh van der Flier told us:
"On the pitch, afterwards, a few of the lads were very humble, in fairness, to us.
"TJ Perenara and Ardie Savea just said 'well done'. It was pretty good and impressive from them, to be honest."
Indeed, as van der Flier spoke with us, All Blacks flanker Matt Todd, who was not involved today, walked past and patted the Irishman on the back. It was a small, but nice touch.
Josh van der Flier on the All Blacks' classy reaction to Irish defeat pic.twitter.com/Qb99Z1E8He
— Patrick McCarry (@patmccarry) November 6, 2016
Ireland have won their first round against a mighty foe.
They'll do it all over again on November 19.
Who are the winners of the much-coveted 2016 Wooly Awards? Find out in our GAA Hour Special