US President Joe Biden has confused the All Blacks with the Black and Tans, a pro-British police force in the Irish War of Independence renowned for brutality and violence.
Speaking at a Dundalk pub while on tour in Ireland, Biden was making a reference to local hero Rob Kearney, the famous Irish fullback with whom he shared a stage.
Biden recalled his first meeting with Kearney, which was after Ireland’s first-ever test win against the All Blacks in Chicago in 2016.
Kearney was one of the best on the field that historic day at Soldier Field, and afterwards in a meeting with the then Vice President, had given Biden a tie as a souvenir.
At the end of his address, Biden explained the story behind Kearny’s gift.
“This was given to me by one of these guys right here,” said Biden. “He was a hell of a rugby player.
“He beat the Black and Tans, my god… I’ve still got the tie. I wear it with great pride.”
The Black and Tans were a force of temporary constables recruited to assist the Royal Irish Constabulary in maintaining control over the IRA during the Irish War of Independence in the 1920s.
Generally ex-British soldiers, they were notorious for reprisal attacks on civilians, arson and looting. Their actions further swayed Irish public opinion against British rule and drew condemnation in Britain.