'Exhausted' Jerry Flannery does us all a favour with measured analysis of Ireland win
Jerry Flannery was on edge as he watched Ireland's bruising 13-8 win over South Africa in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup.
He was even on edge beforehand.
“It’s a collision sport,” Jerry said in the RTÉ studios before the game, as the cameras panned to the Irish team leaving the dressing room on their way out to the field.
“So if you’re not mentally getting your head ready that you’re going to have to leather someone as hard as you can when you get out on the field," he said passionately, "and then do it over and over again – then you’re not getting on this team."
He had us all pumped.
Ireland did it the hard way, defending resolutely for the majority of the second half before narrowly hanging onto win.
Despite constant, un-relenting pressure from their incredibly physical opponents, Ireland wouldn't bend and eventually kept them at bay.
It was a statement, and it felt momentous.
It was gripping, edge-of-seat stuff throughout, the kind of thing you couldn't take your eyes off for a second and that was why it was so sweet to win it, and was celebrated accordingly.
It was almost like a release valve.
After the game, it was clear that Jerry Flannery had gone through the wringer as much as anyone else had.
"I'm exhausted after that second half to be honest," said the Galway man.
"It was an incredible display of character and resilience from the Ireland team. I'm struggling to...I didn't enjoy the second half," he said, putting his hand to his chest.
"I was getting an anxiety attack watching that."
But the former Munster and Ireland hooker did us all a favour when, to calm himself down as much as anything else, he brought a sense of perspective to proceedings.
He reminded us that it is, after all, just a Pool Stage victory and also admitted that he felt the referee Ben O'Keeffe did us no harm.
"There was so much energy expended, and we're still only in the group stages, that's what's sticking out," said Flannery.
"I think, in terms of the character and how they dug in, Ireland deserved their win," he said.
"But if I'm really honest, I think we got the rub of the green from Ben O'Keeffe, several times. I felt he did give us the rub of the green
"But the bit that sticks with me, I am enjoying this win but like Bundee said, we could see these guys again.
"It's not like that's South Africa done with."
"They could have Handre Pollard back in, and they wouldn't miss those kicks.
"On the same side, we might tighten up our line out. But on the same side, it is a good win, and it's something the players can build on.
"I feel like I'm nervous of how much it took out of us, which it was going to take, they're world champions. It was tough.
"I thought Conor Murray had a massive impact. I thought Andrew Porter had a huge game. You saw how much James Lowe's kicking game helped Ireland."
These were badly needed!
A couple of settlers last night for my nerves after that game 🇮🇪💪 pic.twitter.com/sdgHltgeb7
— Jerry Flannery (@jerryflannery) September 24, 2023
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