Rory McIlroy summed up the reaction of many Ireland fans when he burst out laughing at a handling error that denied his side a try in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup defeat to New Zealand.
The Northern Irish golfer made the trip to Tokyo for the match but had to watch his team get ripped apart by the dominant All Blacks, who secured a thumping 46-14 victory.
Ireland were pushing for an unlikely way back into the contest in the second half and looked set to chip away at the deficit when a grubber kick was collected by Robbie Henshaw over the line.
But the centre failed to get hold of the ball and knocked it forward beyond the New Zealand try-line in a move that rather summed up Ireland’s misfortunes on the day.
And McIlroy, watching in the stands with wife Erica Stoll, could not help but laugh at the mishap, shaking his head in disbelief before face-palming at what he had just witnessed.
He had sent a message of support to the team beforehand, saying: ‘Hey guys, Rory McIlroy here. Just about to watch Ireland play New Zealand.
‘Massive game, quarter-final of the World Cup. Obviously hoping Ireland win, they’ve never been past the quarter-finals of a World Cup, so big night for everyone. Come on Ireland!’
Henshaw did get his try just a few moments later, though the side were still 27 points behind with just 11 minutes to play and with no chance of mounting a comeback.
New Zealand were in no mood to let their foot off the gas and responded immediately with another try of their own.
They did give away a late penalty try, though, when CJ Stander was held up illegally at the line, with Matt Todd shown a yellow card.
But even with 14 men the All Blacks were still too powerful, adding a seventh try through Jordie Barrett to round off a totally dominant performance, and they will take on England in the semi-final next weekend.
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