5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland Under-19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday week (December 14) has been announced.
" Well you know he said, in his quiet northern brogue, I think we might have a little more to add to that history book before it can be closed.
And how right he was.
Less than 24 hours after that conversation, Haslett was celebrating what can only be described as an astonishing victory over an Australian side who number among their squad a host of players who have played in the Super 12 competition just ended.
And it wasn't just that Ireland defeated them, but it was the manner of that victory that has made everyone sit up and take notice. Australia trailed 16-13 at the interval and for almost the entire duration of the second half never managed to get into, never mind gain a foothold in Ireland's half.
In addition, Australia used their entire bench, Ireland's only replacement used was Oisin Hennessy who came on as a temporary replacement for five minutes early in the opening half for number 8 Jamie Heaslip.
Immediately after the game, Haslett, quite naturally, was ecstatic. It was a stunning performance by those boys tonight." he said. "They played quality rugby against quality opposition.
And Haslett wasn't surprised by the control they had in the second half ? Not really, no.
"One of the features of our campaign so far has been the quality of our play in the second half where we have asserted authority over the opposition.
" It's been the case in each game, Tonga, Argentina, - although slightly later with Argentina, the last twenty minutes, - then France.
" And it was what we were hoping to do. And it came about. What possibly surprised us was the fact that we asserted our authority so early in the second half (v Australia). I mean after the first ten minutes, Australia, certainly the Australian forwards, didn't really feature as an attacking threat at all. Territorially we were very well on top. "
With Australia forced to defend inside their own half the only threat posed was a breakout but again this was a scenario that didn't really cause Haslett much agitation. "Ah no, not really.
" In fact they really ran out of ideas. Their pack were under pressure. They were on occasions getting static ball at best and they resorted to a lot of kicking in that second half.
" They didn't really appear to have any ideas as the game wore on. Ran out of ideas really.
It may in fact have been a case that this Irish ran them out of ideas and ran them off their feet because by the time Denis Fogarty scored his side's third try in the 70th minute, Ireland had already booked their place in the final.
And so on Sunday, the final test.
The acid test - New Zealand.
Like Australia, New Zealand will run onto the Hughenden pitch, strong favourites. And like Australia their side will include a host of players who have played Super 12 plus one, Ben Atiga who has played with the All Blacks.
But after what has gone before, Ireland go into this game with real live hopes of claiming the greates prize and the New Zealanders might well take cognizance of Haslett's final word.
" We don't want this (the semi-final) to be the end though. There is still one more match to be played and we want that victory as much as we wanted any in the competition.
"Anyone who'd write off Ireland would do so at their peril."