09/06/02. Following their record breaking victory over the New Zealand Divisional XV, the Irish party had an early morning call before setting off for Dunedin to prepare for the first Test
The 56-3 victory over The New Zealand Divisional side was a morale booster and received favourable comment in the New Zealand press.
The Sunday News heaped praise on three- try scorer Brian O’Driscoll and predicted he “will be a handful for the All Blacks, their banner headline reading O’Driscoll Shows Why He’s The Best In The World.’
The Sunday Star & Times said that Ireland opened their tour on a positive note and that the Irish backs, given good swift possession sparkled with David Humphreys an excellent distributor, their quick hands and sheer pace opening gaps out wide with the Divisional side simply overawed by Ireland’s play
Noel McQuilkin the NZ coach was highly impressed by the Irish side.”They played some bloody good football.” he said.”Some of the Irish ball handling was top class, out of this world. They have improved their skills immensely and now play a 15 man game that the players are obviously enjoying. And they can only get better. Remember this was just their first game and when you take that into consideration, their performance was impressive. They’re going to give the Blacks a game of it, make no mistake.”
The Ireland party arrived in Dunedin just before lunchtime after a three hour journey with one stop along the way in Palmerston.