Kidney expects New Zealand to improve
June 15, 2012
Brian O'Driscoll leads his Ireland team-mates around the AMI Stadium in Christchurch © Getty Images
Ireland coach Declan Kidney is braced for an improved performance from New Zealand when the two sides go head-to-head in the second Test in Christchurch on Saturday.
A new-look All Blacks side powered to a 42-10 victory over the tourists in last weekend's first Test in Auckland. It was the home side's first outing since their Rugby World Cup triumph last year and the squad had only come together the week before the Eden Park clash.
As a result, Kidney expects the hosts to kick on again tomorrow when the All Blacks will return to Christchurch for the first time since the devastating earthquakes that struck the city last year and stripped it of a central role in the World Cup.
"I know for a fact they'll improve, they'll improve 10-15 per cent and that's why this is an even bigger challenge than last week," Kidney told the Irish Times. "They'll obviously be on an emotional roller from it being back in Christchurch. None of those things we can do anything about. We just need to get a bit upset with ourselves and we'll perform an awful lot better - and I know that we can."
Captain Brian O'Driscoll is also well aware of the task facing his side against an All Blacks side that shook off the rust with an ominous display last time out. "You've got to stay with them, stay with them, stay with them," O'Driscoll told the newspaper. "And take your chances when they come. We don't have to play with any concerns, we've been written off over here already so just play with, not wild abandon, but controlled abandon, as such."
But O'Driscoll, who is poised to win his 125th Test cap, remains confident his side can upset the odds that have the All Blacks 1/40 to win the game. Asked why, he said: "Because no one gives us a chance, which is a good place to be. I know what the capabilities of the team are, and it will take a massive effort from everyone to play . . . one of their best games," he said. "But that's happened with Irish teams I've been involved with, when we've beaten world class opposition."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league