Rory McIlroy And Shane Lowry Watch Epic Ireland Win Ahead Of Ryder Cup

McIlroy and Irish compatriot Lowry were in the crowd in Paris on Saturday night to see Ireland beat South Africa

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry walk alongside each other
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry took a break from their Ryder Cup preparations to watch Ireland's epic victory over South Africa in the Rugby World Cup in Paris.

The Irish compatriots are preparing to play for Europe against USA this coming week in Rome as part of Luke Donald's side. However, the pair were fixated on the oval ball instead when they took their place in the crowd to see Ireland beat South Africa 13-8 at the Stade de France on Saturday night. 

The professional golfers joined 30,000 Irish fans to see Andy Farrell’s side continue their 100% record in pool B, with a third successive win as McIlroy predicted that Ireland winning the tournament would be as popular as Lowry claiming The 2019 Open in Portrush.

McIlroy said: "I think the last thing that has happened in Ireland that would be as big as winning the World Cup is Shane winning the Open Championship at Portrush in 2019! I don’t think there would be anything like it in the history of Ireland. If they were to get there, it would be a monumental achievement. Chances like this don’t come around very often.

“This whole tournament we have been watching from afar, but to actually be here and see the support this team has is amazing. Hopefully that support can carry them all the way in this tournament. I think they have all the tools at their disposal, but the quarter final of the World Cup has been Ireland’s Achilles heel."

Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy chat to Jim Hamilton

Lowry and McIlroy chat to former Scotland international, Jim Hamilton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lowry shared McIlroy's belief in the Irish team and feels that it would be a momentous achievement should they claim a first Webb Ellis Cup. Lowry said: "In Ireland, we all want them to win and all want them to go the whole way. 

“I think this team has a chance to do something that will be remembered forever. Ireland might never have the chance like this to win a World Cup again. This team has that chance and it’s exciting for the whole country. It’s going to be an amazing few weeks and hopefully it can be a successful one.”

McIlroy and Lowry were also quizzed at the rugby whether they were up for a game themselves. Neither seemed to think they had much to offer but were in agreement that Jon Rahm could get a game on the rugby pitch - probably in the back row.

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James Nursey

James Nursey is a freelance contributor to Golf Monthly after spending over 20 years as a sports reporter in newspapers. During a 17-year career with the Daily Mirror, he covered mainly football but reported from The Open annually and also covered a Ryder Cup and three US Opens. He counts a pre-tournament exclusive with Justin Rose at Merion in 2013 as one of his most memorable as the Englishman went on to win his first Major and later repeated much of the interview in his winner’s speech.  Now, after choosing to leave full-time work in newspapers, James, who is a keen single-figure player, is writing about golf more.  His favourite track is the Old Course after attending St Andrews University but has since played mainly at Edgbaston, where he is a member. James’ golfing highlights include a hole-in-one and previously winning the club championship and scratch knock-out at Edgbaston. He is also an active member of the Association of Golf Writers and Press Golfing Society, for whom he has represented in matches. But he is just as happy hitting balls or playing the odd hole with his young daughter at their local club Shrewsbury.

James is currently playing: 
Driver: Ping G400
3 wood: Ping i20
Hybrid: Ping i20
Irons: Ping i500 4-SW
Wedges: Ping Glide forged 50, 56
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour
Ball: Titleist ProVIx