Air New Zealand mocks Irish rugby fans in hilarious new ad

Air New Zealand has offered Irish rugby fans some tongue-in-cheek "safety tips" before the countries face off in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The highly fancied All Blacks are straining not to seem cocky ahead of Saturday evening’s match in Tokyo, but the national carrier has no such qualms, urging Ireland fans to brace for impact.

In a made-to-go-viral online ad, "flight attendants" give a safety briefing in a house occupied by an increasingly forlorn trio of Irish supporters, telling them "to lean forward into the crouch position with your head in your hands" in the event of an early New Zealand try.

"Should those tries repeat, make your way to your nearest exit," the video continues, with Irish fans shown fleeing for open doors and windows.

Air New Zealand's latest ad sees the national carrier make fun of Irish rugby fans. Pic: Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand's latest ad sees the national carrier make fun of Irish rugby fans. Pic: Air New Zealand

New Zealand are favourites to win the clash and go on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for an unprecedented third successive time.

But the southern hemisphere side has struggled in recent head-to-head games with the Irish.

"Having won two out of the last three games, some Irish supporters may be expecting a pleasant journey," the faux flight attendants note.

"However, we happen to think you might be in for some upcoming turbulence.

"Should the game go down to the wire, an oxygen mask will automatically drop down. Otherwise, please remain seated until your disappointment has come to a complete halt."

"Anything to add @AerLingus?" the company tweeted, taunting Ireland's national flag carrier into a response that was subsequently forthcoming.

Irish team chasing World Cup history

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has been used to making history in his six years in charge and he could make a little bit more in the quarter-final against his native New Zealand.

The Irish have never advanced past the quarter-finals at the global showpiece, with the clash against the All Blacks possibly their best chance to break that curse.

Their structured game plan under Schmidt has led to three Six Nations titles, their first series win in Australia in almost 40 years and, more importantly, their first two victories against the All Blacks - a 40-29 victory in 2016 in Chicago and then 16-9 last year in Dublin.

Both Schmidt and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen have said the recent results would have little influence on what happens on Saturday, but they have given the Irish players belief the three-times world champions were fallible.

"They have had some pretty successful experiences together. There are a number of players within that side who have contributed to a fair bit of history for us," Schmidt told reporters.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is confident his side can beat New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is hoping to mastermind his nation's first World Cup quarter-final win. Pic: Getty

"So the accumulation of those experiences together hopefully builds a bit of confidence - because you need to have some belief.

"You can't go out against an All Blacks side and accept that you're second fiddle. You've got to go out and put your best foot forward."

Ireland's best foot belongs to inside backs Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton, whose tactical kicking will be crucial in turning New Zealand around and putting pressure on their back three.

Their ability to control possession also appears to confuse the All Blacks and creates frustration.

While they will be without the suspended Bundee Aki, Schmidt selected his strongest possible side, with seven of the forwards that dominated the All Blacks last November in the starting team.

Hansen, who is stepping down after the tournament, said he was well aware of early exits, having been an assistant to Graham Henry when they were bundled out by France in the 2007 quarter-finals.

That was the All Blacks' worst finish at the tournament and they have been unbeaten at the World Cup since, winning the titles in 2011 and 2015.

He named his strongest possible side available with Brodie Retallick back in the side after he recovered from a shoulder injury.

With agencies