Rugby: Ireland touch down in Dublin to heroes welcome

Ireland's rugby team has touched down in Dublin to a heroes' welcome and a boost up the 2019 World Cup seedings.

Kiwi coach Joe Schmidt reneged on the normal alcohol ban to let his players celebrate their flight home from Chicago after the stunning defeat of the All Blacks.

In a nod to the history-making achievement which preceded theirs in the Windy City, several players wore Chicago Cubs hats after the local baseball team ended 108 years of agony by winning the World Series.

The team flew in at 5.45am local time but fans still went to the airport to welcome them home.

One teenage fan got a bus by herself at 1.15am in the morning, reaching the airport at 4am.

"I didn't know whether they were going to be here at half 5 or quarter to 10 but I was going to be here either way," said proud supporter Rebecca Crompton who is 17.

"I didn't get to go to Chicago so I wanted to show my support for the team.

"The fact that I was able to be right in front of them was amazing," she added.

The leg-weary squad then boarded a bus to go into a camp in Dublin to prepare for a test against Canada this weekend, a titanic re-match with the All Blacks the week after and then a final autumn test against the Wallabies.

Ireland have jumped two places in the world rankings following their historic 40-29 victory. They are now in fifth spot on 83.67 points and this could be pivotal when the World Cup seedings are finalised after next year's Six Nations tournament with Ireland hoping to occupy one of the top seeds.

New Zealand remain in first place, with England second, Australia third and South Africa fourth.

For the World Cup seedings, the top four will be the top four seeds, with five to eight in pot two. Should Ireland beat Australia in three weeks' time, that would give Schmidt's men a huge chance to be in with the big boys and thus avoiding then in the group stages.

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