The gaffe went viral, after he confused rugby team with brutal military force

Who said rugby and politics don’t mix? During his tour of Ireland this week, US president Joe Biden mistook New Zealand’s All Blacks with the brutal British military force known as the Black and Tans, who rose to infamy during the Irish war of Independence.

During a speech in the Windsor pub in Dundalk, Biden made a point of thanking  a distant cousin of his, former Leinster, Lions and Ireland full-back Rob Kearney, for the tie he was wearing. And he had intended to big up the ex-player for his part in an historic first win over the All Blacks, when he said: “This was given to me by one of these guys, right here. He was a hell of a rugby player. He beat the hell out of the Black and Tans.”

The incident has become an internet sensation. The White House have since corrected the official transcript of the event. White House official Amanda Sloat also defended Biden’s error, stating: “I think for everyone in Ireland who was a rugby fan, it was incredibly clear that the president was talking about the All Blacks and Ireland’s defeat of the New Zealand team.”

Joe Biden Irish rugby fan

During a recent St Patrick’s Day event, president Biden hosted Ireland’s Taoiseach, Leo Veradkar – himself a keen rugby player and fan – and couldn’t give up the opportunity to put his weight behind Ireland’s Six Nations Grand Slam chances against England.

At the event he said: “I expect we know who in the room we’re routing for in the Grand Slam. I’m looking forward to that.”

He also said to Irish parliament during his recent visit: “I’d rather have my children playing rugby now for health reasons than I would have playing (American) football. Fewer people get hurt playing rugby and you have no equipment…you just don’t hit each other in the head very often”

And when Biden was vice president of the United States, serving with president Barack Obama, he tweeted his congratulations to Rob Kearney after the famous first-ever win over the All Blacks, in Chicago.

On the relationship, Kearney said back then: “It started off as quite loose and a weird connection and then Joe came to Ireland on a state visit and myself a Dave met him and then he invited the two of us over to The White House. We went over in the summer and met him there, and the relationship has gone from strength to strength.

“It was pretty cool. I spoke to him after the game and he had watched it. He’s actually a pretty big rugby fan.”

Since then, Kearney has visited with Biden in the US.

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