‘It was gutting’ – the pain of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup exit still lingers

Planet Rugby
Ireland's Andrew Porter after a disappointing loss in the Rugby World Cup.

Ireland's Andrew Porter after a disappointing loss in the Rugby World Cup.

Ireland prop Andrew Porter has reflected on the team’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final exit to New Zealand with severe disappointment.

The Irish had progressed well through a difficult group stage which saw them beat the Springboks and Scotland to finish top of the pool.

They went into their last-eight fixture as World Rugby’s number-one-ranked team but lost 28-24 to the All Blacks, who were eventually the tournament’s runners-up.

“Trying to come to terms”

Porter admits he is still trying to process the disappointment after a memorable campaign up until that point.

“I’m still trying to come to terms with it in my own head. It was gutting, I have never felt that much of a low in my career,” Porter said on The Rugby Pod.

“There was huge hype and expectation and just the energy that was at home and all the fans that had travelled over from Ireland to create that unbelievable, special atmosphere that I have never witnessed before.

“All that linked in together and built up really, really high and then it’s like a roller coaster, it’s bang and it felt like you were just at the bottom.”

The quarter-final loss came on October 14 and, more than a month later, Porter has struggled for closure.

He has since returned home and will hope to eventually put it behind him when he gets back in the Leinster side for their United Rugby Championship and Champions Cup campaigns.

Difficult to deal with

“I came home and thought great, a different environment, but I had too much time with my own thoughts. You start playing everything back in your head, thinking of everything you could have done differently and done better,” added Porter.

“I was really struggling being at home after being in such a great environment with all those incredibly special people for so long – I didn’t want to do anything, I just wanted to be by myself.

“At the end of something like that, there isn’t really a debrief – no real closing the book on it. I have had to deal with sleepless nights, things playing over in your head, that kind of thing. It’s just part of the game we play. We were so close so that is why it was a bit more gut-wrenching.”

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