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Boks and Ireland inspire All Blacks to reach new levels

REACTION: New Zealand flank Dalton Papali’i said on Monday the All Blacks were inspired by watching Ireland’s brutal victory over South Africa in the World Cup at the weekend, and they aspire to reach that level.

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The world’s top two sides played out an enthralling low-scoring match at the Stade de France on Saturday, with Ireland edging it 13-8 after wayward place kicking by the Springboks.

New Zealand sit fourth in the world and have lost their last match against the three teams above them, including the World Cup’s opening game with hosts France.

“If you want to play with the best you’ve got to play at that level,” said the 25-year-old loose forward.

“We’ve shown glimpses throughout the year and this is where you need to do it because this is the tournament we all want to perform at.

“We know what the standard is now, and we’re pretty excited coming off that bye week to really show what we’ve got and the level we want to play at.”

Defence coach Scott McLeod said the players were “buzzing” after watching that match.

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“I was hugely impressed with the intensity of the game,” he said.

“That’s what impressed me the most, the speed of play but the collisions were clean. They were very clean and accurate, there was no infringing around that area.

“And that’s a bloody hard thing to do that speed, with those collisions and bodies are flying everywhere and both teams did that very, very well.”

‘Come undone’

New Zealand sat out the last weekend of games after following up their France defeat with a routine 71-3 thrashing of outsiders Namibia.

They play Italy next in Lyon on Friday and McLeod insisted the three-time World Cup winners will not take the Azzurri lightly.

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“They’ve really evolved their attack from what I can see. They had the fastest ball available in the Six Nations, better than Ireland. That’s quick,” McLeod said.

“They know their game and they’re playing that well.”

McLeod refused to be drawn on an expected quarterfinal against Ireland, insisting his team was not looking past their next match.

“I have rats and possums on my property and that’s a trap, right there,” he said when asked about Ireland.

“We deal with what is in front of us.

“Italy are a very good side and if we look too far ahead or start thinking about others, we will come undone.”

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