'Underdogs' All Blacks seek revenge against Irish

Steve Hansen (Getty Images)
Steve Hansen (Getty Images)

Dublin - World champions New Zealand will bid on Saturday to teach Ireland a lesson and prevent them from becoming the first team since South Africa in 2009 to beat them twice in a row.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen - who has, somewhat fancifully in many peoples, eyes tagged them as the underdogs - is expecting a much more composed performance than the one they produced in Chicago when the Irish recorded a historic first win in 29 Test meetings stretching over 111 years.

Hansen has been able to recall experienced locks Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, who should prove a more competitive unit both in the lineout and the scrum than the duo of Jerome Kaino and Patrick Tuipulotu, who started in Chicago.

"Yes we are the underdog," said Hansen.

"Just go back to Chicago, it was 40-29 and they (Ireland) won easy.

"Strange or whatever, that is a fact and you can't argue with facts. They are what they are."

Up until the Irish defeat Hansen had guided the All Blacks to a world record 18 successive Test victories. He said that his players were aware of the mistakes that had cost them in Chicago and are looking to put those right.

"We know we didn't play very well and we know we have to vastly improve because they are a very good side," said the 57-year-old.

"If everyone performs their core roles such as lineouts, defence and kicking that should fix our performance and take it to another level.

"Certainly we must improve our discipline as we conceded 12 penalties in Chicago that allowed them to kick for position and put us on the back foot the whole time.

"You expect a couple of penalties but 12, that is really an off day."

All Blacks hooker Dane Coles agreed that their discipline had to be of a far higher order than in the previous game.

He added that they had to keep their emotions under control and not allow a red mist descend because of the previous result.

"You don't want to get too over-emotional," said Coles, who became a father for the second time last week as his wife gave birth to a baby boy.

"There's a danger you will do something stupid otherwise and you don't want to be spending time on the sidelines (in the sin bin)."

Hansen's Ireland counterpart and fellow Kiwi Joe Schmidt dismissed any talk that his side were the favourites.

"I don't think so. I know Steve pretty well," said Schmidt, dismissing Hansen's comments as mind games.

"Based on a recent result he's put his summation on that. I don't think he believes we'll pay too much heed to that, because we know the quality they are.

"Part of that quality is their coaching team. I learned a lot off some of the people who are involved there.

"I think they are still in a really strong position.

"We just want to try to focus on our own performance, try to use Chicago as a reference point," added the 51-year-old.

Certainly Ireland wing Simon Zebo, who had an outstanding game in Chicago, believes the All Blacks will come out all guns blazing.

"I think Steve Hansen's just being modest," said Zebo.

"We put in a good performance the last day, but we all know New Zealand are going to perform a hell of a lot better this time."

Hansen for his part made clear he did not wish to revisit how he felt after the two defeats to South Africa when he was assistant coach.

"How would you feel? You would certainly not be laughing about it," he said.



15 Rob Kearney 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Jack McGrath

Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Garry Ringrose

New Zealand:

15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Waisake Naholo

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