Preparation, physical tussle key against All Blacks, says Ireland's Best

Schmidt's side host back-to-back world champions New Zealand in Dublin tomorrow, with New Zealand boss Hansen praising his counterpart for forcing a paradigm performance shift with Ireland.

The All Blacks boss stuck to his word in the wake of Ireland's triumph, and even labelled Joe Schmidt's Ireland as the front-runners for next year's World Cup.

Ireland have only beaten New Zealand once in 30 matches since they first met in 1905, but that win came in the United States two years ago.

Ireland's entire November series has been building up to the All Blacks clash, with the opening fixtures against Italy and Argentina becoming nearly like warm-up games for head coach Joe Schmidt.

Ireland: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton, Kieran Marmion; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, James Ryan, Peter O'Mahony, Dan Leavy, CJ Stander.

"That's why we limit ourselves to once every 15 years because we don't want to get carried away with things".

New Zealand will be favourites going into the match, but on home soil, anything is possible for an Ireland team that has managed wins against Argentina and Italy in recent weeks.

"So every time we went to train after that we had a drill and it was intense and it was for four minutes and 22 seconds so you knew that during a match you could go full-on for that length of time, push your lungs and push your legs to the limit because you had already experienced the pressure during the week".

If you thought that Ireland had withstood an onslaught at the end: they could have held on for longer.

Ireland were languishing in eighth place in the world rankings when Schmidt took the helm in late 2013. And also their ability to defend very strongly as well, so they're a good side. 'When the momentum comes our way, we'll need to take the opportunities that will come, as the team that makes the most of their opportunities will win the game'.

"Whenever you have got somebody who is six inches taller than everyone else - if the throw is spot on and he's jumping with two lifters - it's almost impossible to stop him taking a banker ball every time and obviously he knows the options that they have inside out".

Ireland initially looked to build on their lead, but soon found themselves forced onto the back foot as the All Blacks looked to click into gear. If New Zealand are still officially the world's best team, it did not particularly feel that way at the final whistle.

"As I said earlier in the week this was number one versus number two in the world", said Hansen.

I think Joe maybe blamed himself a little bit that we had done three minutes and not three minutes 32 seconds or whatever that All Blacks figure is.

  • Stacy Allen