Ireland coach Andy Kelly spoke of his bulging pride after his team pulled off the shock of the World Cup to move to within 80 minutes of a dream semi-final against Australia.
After losing to Tonga in their opening game, Kelly's men needed to beat Samoa by six points at Parramatta Stadium to top pool C on points difference and emerged from a bruising and, at times, brutal, encounter with a handsome 34-16 victory that rewarded their courage and determination.
Samoa played it physical and not all the big hits were legal but England could learn a few lessons from the Irish, who stood up to the challenge magnificently in front of a passionate crowd of 8,602.
"To learn the lessons of the Tonga game and to come out that little bit stronger and a little bit wiser and to apply it on the field was a massive effort from the players," said Kelly.
"If they keep on like that, the amount of pride I've got is going to bust me up. They were fantastic tonight."
Ireland's reward is a semi-final qualifier, mostly likely against Fiji, on the Gold Coast next Monday, with the Kangaroos lying in wait for the winners.Reuse content