The last time an Irish team beat New Zealand - Munster in 1978 - Brendan Foley was playing lock.

Today, Ireland won after a minute of silence for his son.

As the All Blacks lined up in the V formation for their pre-game haka, the Irish formed their own special vanguard.

It looked like the number 8 - but fans and viewers alike were stumped. Was this a way to stunt the All Blacks tradition? Was it a ploy to fire up their opposition?


An emphatic no to all of the above.

They were remembering - shoulder to shoulder - Irish legend Anthony Foley who unexpectedly passed away last month.

Foley had 200 caps for Munster and 62 caps for Ireland. He scored on his Irish debut in 1995 and won the league with Munster in 2003.

He returned to coach his beloved club side just six years after retirement.

In 2001, Foley had been a part of the Irish side who lost to the All Blacks by the same margin - 40-29.

Yes, the 111-year drought was something to be proud of. Yes, the underdog label and the atmosphere in Chicago was something to stir the Irish passion. But it was the meaning behind it all that brought tears to their eyes.

"They didn't just do their country proud, they did Anthony proud," coach Joe Schmidt said at the press conference.

Like Leicester City, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Chicago Cubs, the Cronulla Sharks, and the Western Bulldogs, Ireland have now joined the class of 2016 champions - one of the greatest in history.