Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland out to create their own history against All Blacks

As all the talk centres around Japan's shot at history at the Rugby World Cup this weekend, Ireland are hoping that they can create their own against the All Blacks on Saturday. 

Despite being ranked fourth in the world, the Irish have failed to progress past the quarter-final stage in all eight Rugby World Cup tournaments. 

While that dismal record hangs over their heads, Ireland remain confident they can end their hoodoo against the back-to-back world champions.

Ireland have won two of their last three tests against the All Blacks, including a 16-9 win in Dublin last year. 

But the All Blacks are on a 17-match unbeaten run at World Cups, their last loss coming in the quarter-finals at the 2007 tournament against France. 

Rugby World Cup 2019: Ireland out to create their own history against All Blacks

But those past results mean nothing to playmaker Johnny Sexton, who is focused on getting the job done tomorrow. 

"There's nothing we can do about the previous results, all we can do is concentrate now on putting in our best performance tomorrow - and that will give us a chance," Sexton said. 

"We know we can create history and that would be special, but I can't really [discuss] Ireland's record because it's been a different group every time."

But under coach Joe Schmidt, the Irish have created lots of history. To go along with the two wins against the All Blacks, they've won three Six Nations - including the Grand Slam in 2018 - and heading into the World Cup, they were the number-one ranked nation in the world for the first time. 

Schmidt is leaving his role after the World Cup, and Sexton says the team isn't getting caught up in that thought. 

"I've talked about Joe a lot. I'll get some serious slagging now when I go back to the hotel. There's already enough slagging about my relationship with Joe, to delve any deeper.

"We had Risteard Cooper [Irish comedian] in for lunch today, and he did a bit of a skit on Joe, which was very good - and Joe took it very well. But Joe's legacy speaks for itself.

"We don't want to get distracted by it being his last game, second-last game, third-last game. We'll talk about him when it's done."

Sexton added that Ireland have been targeting this match since learning the draw two years ago. 

"It's been a long time in the back of our minds, the likelihood always going to be a case that if we got through our pool we'd play South Africa or New Zealand.

"And we're here now. It's a little bit surreal. It's a little bit, 'I can't believe it's finally here.'

"So I'm looking forward to going out there on the biggest stage and trying to show what we can do against the best team in the world, a team that hasn't lost for two World Cups."

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 11:15pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v Ireland Rugby World Cup quarter-final.