Ireland captain Rory Best said his players were “absolutely ecstatic” after beating world champions New Zealand for the first time.
The Irish secured a 40-29 win over the three-time world champions in Saturday’s Test match in Chicago.
It was their first victory over the All Blacks in 111 years of trying.
“It’s been a long time coming and history has been made,” said Best, who dedicated the win to ex-Ireland captain Anthony Foley, who died last month.
“You can see how good a side they are and how much it means to our boys.”
Players formed a figure eight when facing New Zealand’s Haka before kick-off, in tribute to the playing number of Munster head coach Foley, who died aged 42.
“It just felt like the right thing to do and it was our way, as an Irish national team, just to show a mark of respect to Axel [Foley] and his family,” Best added.
Best, who joined Peter Stringer as Ireland’s fifth most-capped player by making his 98th appearance, said he “couldn’t be prouder” of the work his side had put in.
The world champions had been described as the greatest rugby team of all time, and brought an 18-match winning run into the game.
But tries from Jordi Murphy, CJ Stander and Conor Murray helped the Irish to a 25-8 half-time lead.
Simon Zebo scored his side’s fourth try in the corner, before Robbie Henshaw powered over late on for Ireland’s fifth try in front of a 62,300 crowd.
“We just talked about attacking New Zealand,” Best told BT Sport 2.
“If you give them ball and stand off them they’re an unbelievably dangerous outfit. It felt like a home game for us.”
New Zealand boss Steve Hansen hailed Ireland’s victory, which came at the 29th attempt, admitting the All Blacks had been fortunate to win 24-22 in Dublin in 2013.
“We’ve got to make sure the loss isn’t wasted, we’ve got to make sure it takes us somewhere where we get better,” he said.
Ireland play Canada in their second autumn international in Dublin on 12 November, followed by a rematch with the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium a week later.
Former Ireland captain Keith Wood on BBC Radio 5 live
It was just phenomenal from the very start. The atmosphere inside the ground was just something incredibly special.
From the first second the game started, Ireland just attacked. They were not conservative – we all get frustrated when Ireland play conservatively – but they weren’t even vaguely.
They were so accurate, so unbelievably aggressive, but everything stuck and they took every chance they got.
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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/37887108