New Zealand v Ireland - Teams and Prediction
THE THIRD TEST: Coach Andy Farrell said on Friday Ireland will be intent on creating “chaos” with the All Blacks game plan once again as they seek to become the first team in 28 years to notch a series win on New Zealand soil.
Victory in Saturday’s third and deciding Test in Wellington will hand the tourists a 2-1 triumph, the first for any side in New Zealand since the French prevailed 2-0 in 1994 – and just the sixth occasion in history.
The scenario seemed beyond Farrell’s men when they were struck down by early-tour injuries and were overrun 42-19 in the first Test at Eden Park.
However, a calm response and precise planning were behind a 34-point swing as Ireland won the second Test 23-12 in Dunedin, dismantling the lacklustre hosts in emphatic style.
Farrell is certain the All Blacks will respond with ferocity but he wants a different outcome to the pattern of the last six years – in which each of Ireland’s four wins over New Zealand has been followed immediately by a loss.
“We know what the history says about all that so this is exactly where we want to be,” he said.
“They’ll be hurting, we know that they bounce back unbelievably strong, we’ve played them enough times now to realise what’s coming.
“They’ve got a plan but it’s up to us to make sure that we bring a bit of chaos to that plan. We’ve got to make sure that we put a bit of doubt in the All Blacks’ minds.”
New Zealand have failed to win just five of their last 40 home series dating back 50 years.
There were losses to Australia (2-1 in 1986) and France eight years later, along with 1-1 draws against the French (1979 and 2009), and the 2017 British and Irish Lions.
Comparisons between that Lions tour – when Farrell was an assistant coach to Warren Gatland and Ireland’s current campaign are compelling.
On both occasions the All Blacks comfortably won the first Test before squandering the second on the back of having a player sent off.
It was Sonny Bill Williams five years ago, while Angus Ta’avao got his marching orders after 30 minutes in Dunedin.
Before any Test match comes two very special rituals – the anthem and haka. Find out what these mean for the players.
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‘We’ve just got to believe’
All Blacks coach Ian Foster said discipline would be critical in a Test refereed by Englishman Wayne Barnes but they also can’t afford to retreat into their shell.
“The first Test showed that when we’ve got 15 on 15 we’ve got some good answers at the moment,” Foster said.
“It’s a tough week after a loss and, like always, we’re trying to be pretty demanding and ruthless about how we assess the game. We’ve just got to believe in what we’re doing.”
Farrell acknowledged his team were near the end of another marathon season but didn’t feel weary legs would be problematic.
He believed the players will be motivated by the knowledge this could be Ireland’s last bilateral series for some time, with World Rugby set to launch its new global competition next year comprising only one-off Tests.
“It’s like gold dust isn’t it? A deciding game in New Zealand, with a sniff of trying to win a series,” Farrell said.
“The biggest thing we can say about that is that it will probably never be done again by an Irish side, for what we know is probably going to happen in the future.
“If that’s not big enough in its own right, I don’t know what is. It’s the chance of a lifetime.”
💬 “Everyone on Tour pushing together in the right direction over the next few days is going to be a hell of a force for us.” 📈#TeamOfUs | #NZvIRE
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) July 14, 2022
Players to watch:
For New Zealand: Will Jordan is one of the most exciting players in the world at the moment and his inclusion in the starting team should give the All Blacks an extra edge on attack. David Havili is another new face in the backline. He has that all-important second playmaker role and his physical presence in the midfield could give the Irish defence a few problems. In that pack, pressure has been mounting on captain and loose forward Sam Cane. He will want to lead by example and also stand up to the challenge posed by Josh van der Flier and Peter O’Mahony. Veteran lock Sam Whitelock returns to the starting XV which means Scott Barrett shifts back to the No.6 flank. Barrett has been a bit of a mixed bag in the loose trio in the past, but he adds an extra layer of physicality up front. There will also be a spotlight on former Rugby League star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who will make his debut off the bench.
For Ireland: There is only one change with Bundee Aki coming into the midfield in place of the injured Garry Ringrose. Aki is an abrasive player and he could be the perfect answer to the challenge posed by David Havili. Captain and flyhalf Johnny Sexton is vital to the cause. His game management will have to be spot on if Ireland are to win the series. If things are close, he might be called on to deliver a few drop goals. Flank Josh van der Flier is a workhorse in open play and he gives Ireland something extra at the breakdowns as well. There is also Peter O’Mahony, who is an in-your-face character and he will surely have some strong words for Sam Cane again.
Last 10 encounters:
2012: New Zealand won 22-19, Christchurch
2012: New Zealand won 60-0, Hamilton
2013: New Zealand won 24-22, Dublin
2016: Ireland won 40-29, Chicago
2016: New Zealand won 21-9, Dublin
2018: Ireland won 16-9, Dublin
2019: New Zealand won 46-14, Tokyo (RWC Quarterfinal)
2021: Ireland won 29-20, Dublin
2022: New Zealand won 42-19, Auckland
2022: Ireland won 23-12, Dunedin
@rugby365com: New Zealand by three points.
New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Scott Barrett, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Keith Earls.
Date: Saturday, July 16
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 19.05 (08.05 UK & Ireland time, 07.05 GMT)
Expected weather: It will be mostly clear skies with a high of 10°C and a low of 5°C.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson (England), Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)
AFP & @rugby365com