Extra All Blacks edge for third Irish Test
At first glance, Saturday’s third New Zealand-Ireland rugby clash might seem like a dead Test with the All Blacks having already secured the series.
But with the home side stung after almost losing the second Test, and Ireland desperate to secure their first victory over the All Blacks after coming so close in Christchurch, the Hamilton game is anything but.
“We were disappointed we didn’t perform as well as we did the week before, but we were up against an Irish team that were up a step,” All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said.
“We’ve got to make sure that we progress.”
McCaw admits there’s been an extra edge to training since the 22-19 scare in Christchurch.
“We thought we had a good week last week but, in hindsight, it didn’t have the same feel as the week before,” he said.
“It certainly put everyone’s feet firmly on the ground.”
The Irish players looked deflated in Christchurch after failing to get the win, but assistant coach Les Kiss says they’re ready to face a hungrier All Blacks side.
“We’ve looked to ramp up the areas that we thought we were good in, and make sure we cover some of the areas where we gave them easy possession.
“If we can get on top of those things, it’ll be a good game.”
Ireland have made three changes to their starting team and the All Blacks six, though both teams had their hand forced by injuries.
The injury to All Blacks five-eighth Dan Carter is on paper the most notable, but Aaron Cruden confidently filled in for him in the World Cup and No.8 Kieran Read’s injury might be more significant.
Read’s power will be missed, but McCaw has confidence he can do the job at No.8.
“At the end of the day, apart from a little bit of stuff at set piece time, you don’t change your game a whole lot.”© AAP 2013
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- Ireland Rugby