New Zealand v Ireland, Hamilton
O'Driscoll: Kiwis can cope without Carter
June 21, 2012
Brian O'Driscoll has backed the All Blacks to shine despite Dan Carter's absence © Getty Images
Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll claims that New Zealand have not lost any of their formidable firepower despite Dan Carter's absence from the third Test.
The All Blacks are 2-0 up in the series with Carter nailing a last-gasp drop-goal last weekend to take the game 22-19 despite Ireland's valiant effort. He is sidelined through a hamstring injury with Aaron Cruden taking the reins this weekend, but O'Driscoll expects Cruden to impress like he did during the World Cup when Carter was injured.
"They managed okay in the World Cup, didn't they?" O'Driscoll said. "Dan Carter is a world-class player but Aaron Cruden is handy enough and he has shown it. The bits I've seen of the Super Rugby this season he has been pretty impressive.
"They have to look at life without Dan Carter and it gives Aaron a great opportunity. It is not all about the guy pulling strings at 10, you need smart players around you and I think New Zealand have that."
O'Driscoll will have his third different centre partner for the third Test with Paddy Wallace starting at inside centre. Gordon D'Arcy started in the second Test and Keith Earls in the first, but O'Driscoll has backed Wallace to shine.
"Any time you have someone like Paddy coming in, he will always bring something," O'Driscoll said. "Not just his playing ability but the character he is around the squad. I've known Paddy a long time, played underage level with him, under-19s, through college and through senior rugby with Ireland.
"Knowing the type of professional he is, the shape that he has kept himself in, Paddy will do an excellent job. I'm looking forward to reigniting that midfield partnership with him."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
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