Irish rugby team arrive in Dublin for Grand Slam celebration

Irish rugby team arrive in Dublin for Grand Slam celebration

A special ticketed homecoming event was organised for the Aviva Stadium in Dublin this afternoon, where the Irish rugby heroes were set to parade their Triple Crown and Six Nations trophies.

The Irish bettered the Six Nations title claimed last weekend by completing only the third clean sweep in their history, as England slumped to a first home loss in the tournament since 2012.

Best, skippering the Irish to just their third Slam of all time, along with rampaging fullback Rob Kearney were the only two survivors of that squad - though star flyhalf Johnny Sexton was in the wider training squad.

"It was a different generation of players, the quality of the Paul O'Connells, Brian O'Driscolls, the Gordon D'Arcys, it was that generation that was a little bit special", said Schmidt.

"Every kid grows up dreaming of playing for Ireland, but to win something while captaining in that special green jersey is the stuff that dreams are made of".

Defensively that was definitely our best display in the competition. I'd have to say I've been incredibly fortunate to be involved in some great management groups and some great coaching groups and even more so the players themselves.

"Growing up in New Zealand that's really special". This would bring them up to a whopping €75,000 per player.

"However, of course that is also mixed with a feeling of pride too".

Eddie Jones and England were found wanting, and Joe Schmidt, the Ireland head coach, was emotional enough to be name-checking Sylvia Plath. "That's what we're going through".

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Ireland kicked off having both deposed England as Six Nations champions and in second place in the global rankings behind world champions New Zealand.

"The eight minutes after half-time today sums up the team", said Schmidt.

"As I said during the week, I felt that when we lost 13-10 back in Twickenham it was a massive Test match and I just think that we managed to get the right side of the ledger today and we didn't that time".

There are some guys who are starting their global careers and they need time.

"It is all about fine margins and we looked dead and buried", said Best.

Schmidt said in more jocular fashion in a slightly subdued atmosphere that he hoped Best would be there in Japan in 2019.

"To be honest, we rely still on the same hub", said Schmidt.

"It's something that could come to fruition sooner rather than later".

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