New Zealand vs Ireland: Rugby live scores, blog
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All Blacks player Aaron Smith gets past the tackle of Brian O'Driscoll. AFP PHOTO / Michael Bradley
The All Blacks host Ireland in the second of three Tests between the countries, with the men in green looking to hit back this evening in Christchurch after their 42-10 drubbing in Auckland last week. Join us for live scores and blog from 5:30pm AEST.
The Irish arrived on New Zealand’s shores with fleeting optimism for this series after a solid Six Nations.
They saw an opportunity to steal their first-ever win against an All Black side with less than a week’s preparation and a few untested combinations.
However their hopes of giving their legendary captain Brian O’Driscoll an early-retirement present were stamped out within the first 30 minutes of play by the brilliant world champions.
Part II of the Northerners’ expedition now looks all the more daunting.
The Irish might have thought they could exploit New Zealand’s inexperienced winger.
But that opportunity has passed with Julian Savea, a lethal finisher and the All Blacks’ leading try scorer in 2012, now standing there.
If one thing is essential to a team trying to be competitive in New Zealand it is belief.
After the All Blacks’ performance last week, instilling that belief in the Irish camp will be O’Driscoll’s toughest challenge ahead of this Test.
On the off chance that the Irishmen can bring themselves to truly believe victory in Wellington is possible, they may have an outside chance of a major upset.
An injury to Keith Earls has reunited the well-established centre combination of Gordon D’Arcy and O’Driscoll.
Sean O’Brien has been staking his claim as one of the most abrasive back-rowers in the world.
While he didn’t have a bad game last week, he will need to play out of his skin if the Irish are to disrupt New Zealand’s momentum at the break down.
Mike Ross returns to bolster the front row and will know ascendency in the scrum will go a long way to being competitive against New Zealand. Just ask the Wallabies!
The Kiwis are looking to solidify their combinations, making only one change with Adam Thompson coming off the bench and into the scrum for the injured Victor Vito.
Impressive Chiefs flanker Sam Cane comes on to the bench and will be hopeful of a second-half Test debut.
It’s the first Test in Christchurch for two years since the terrible earthquake, and it will be a huge crowd in to cheer on the All Blacks. Join us here for all the action live 5.30pm EST.
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