10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll talked earlier this week to New Zealand radio station Newstalk ZB.
BRIAN O'DRISCOLL: INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
- ON IRELAND NOT BEING GIVEN ENOUGH CREDIT FOR THEIR FIRST TEST PERFORMANCE -
"Of course it's frustrating a little bit. For want of another word, it's sometimes a little patronising that we gave it a great go for 65 minutes, but of course the All Blacks were always going to come through in the end.
"We really felt we had the All Blacks on the rack and should have finished them off. People are always going to say what they think - what's most important is how we perceive things ourselves, and we feel it was a really big opportunity lost."
- ON FACING A 'SECOND STRING' NEW ZEALAND TEAM -
"If you look at it, bar possibly two or three players, they're wouldn't be too many changes to it (for their top side). I think they're fiddling with not knowing who their best team is.
"Put Dan Carter and Jerry Collins back into the fold and I don't know if they'd be a huge amount of changes. I'm not Graham Henry and I'm not picking the All Blacks team, but when I was out there on Saturday evening, it felt strong enough."
"I think Graham's still trying to find his feet with picking his best 15 and perhaps he doesn't know it yet. Only by trial and error is he going to find out who his best 15 players are. He has the luxury of doing it, whereas other countries don't have that strength in depth and aren't able to do so much rotation."
...Brian O'Driscoll and Eddie O'Sullivan at the top table...
- ON MA'A NONU -
"He's obviously a very good player - you don't get to be an All Black when you're an average player. He's shown his talents in the Super 14 for the last number of seasons and particularly this year.
"I think you know what you're getting with him, he's a powerful guy and he's going to try and offload in the tackle and create space for others if he doesn't get through holes himself.
"I think when you see him charging up it's hard to leave him through a big hole! Sure you're going to try stop him on the gainline which is easier said than done. He's a big guy and has great ability as a ball player so you're always going to have your work cut out when you see him lined up against you."
- ON NEW ZEALANDERS' VIEW OF IRELAND AS TOURISTS -
"I think they enjoy the competitive nature they're always going to get from Ireland. On a social side of things, I guess we're a good team to have a beer with!"
- ON ENGLAND WINNING THE SOCCER WORLD CUP -
"To be perfectly honest, it would be hard work living in Ireland and having England win the World Cup because we're still listening to 1966! If they were to hold both the rugby and soccer World Cups, and the Ashes as well, it would just be one bridge too far."
**In an interview with Tony Veitch of Newstalk ZB**