Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has warned Ireland that their win over the All Blacks could make preparation for next year’s Rugby World Cup even tougher.
Ireland's 16-9 win over New Zealand last weekend was their first ever win over the All Blacks in Dublin.
Their only previous win against New Zealand was the 40-29 success in Chicago in 2016. The All Blacks boast 28 wins over the Irish, while there was also one draw in Dublin in 1973.
Erasmus told the Irish Examiner that Ireland’s victory could be a blessing and a curse.
“If you beat New Zealand it gives you a lot of confidence, but sometimes the problem is what does that do to the opposition you are playing next?”
“There is a lot of expectation on you when you beat the All Blacks. Everyone then expects you to automatically beat everyone else from then onwards. People start coming for you and start to analyse you really hard to beat you, because you’ve just beaten New Zealand,” the Bok mentor said.
Erasmus though noted that the victory would have given the Irish players a lot of belief.
“It was a proper, proper Test match, very intense, and I thought Ireland could do it, because Joe (Schmidt) is a great coach and the Irish players are really professional. New Zealand has been going through a little bit of a dip but, knowing New Zealand, they will pull the ropes together and get it right before the World Cup.”
Erasmus’ Boks also made headlines earlier this year when they upset the All Blacks 36-34 in a Rugby Championship encounter Wellington.
They came close to beating the All Blacks in the return match in Pretoria, before the Kiwis overcame a 30-13 deficit to win 32-30.
While acknowledging that the All Blacks would still be the team to beat at next year’s World Cup in Japan, Erasmus predicted that the tournament could be an open race.
“We managed to pip New Zealand in a close game, Scotland almost had them last year and so did England earlier this month. We then all saw what happened with Ireland beating them in Dublin. Obviously, the clear favourites are New Zealand and Ireland, but Wales is one of those teams that is hovering there and thereabouts.”