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Irish Under No Illusions

Irish Under No Illusions

Three try scorer in the opening game, Brian O’Driscoll, like the rest of the Irish squad, is under no illusions about the task that Ireland face against the All Blacks on Saturday.

O’Driscoll caught the eye in Timaru last Saturday not just for the tries he scored but also with his tackle rate and the way he set up tries for colleagues. But that game is firmly in the past as the focus switches to Saturday and ‘The Blicks’ as people out here proniunce it.

They’re a super side and when you look at the record – we have never beaten them in 15 games that stat speaks for itself. It’s going to be a huge task, we know that. But we’re quietly confident that we can play a good style of rugby and maybe catch them on an off day.

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Eddie O’Sullivan, sees this tour as an opportunity to build depth in our squad. We’ve left a good few frontline players at home for various reasons and when you have those available, you don’t always get the opportunity to develop others. So that’s part of what we’re about.

We’ve had to restructure our side but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll affect our game plan. We saw the Blacks game against Italy. They won playing below par and still scored 60 points. They were a bit sloppy at times and we must assume they’ve a lot more left in the tank.

Asked how much Ireland had to improve for this game from their opener against the Divisional game, O’Sullivan said, I don’t think it’s about improving really. We played some good rugby that night and I’d be happy with our performance. But the level of intensity that we’ll encounter against a side like the all Blacks will be totally different and we must raise our level of intensity.

Reggie Corrigan is back in the side for his first Test since that awful night in Lens in 1999 and just one look at him said it all about how he felt to be winning his 11th cap. Absolutely delighted. It’s really great to be back involved. They’re a great bunch and I’m really excited about Saturday and looking forward to giving it a lash. It’s been a while now since I was in the side, but I was always hopeful of getting back. I wasn’t playing well enough for a while but it was a question of keeping the head down and working away and thankfully that has paid off.

Corrigan is one of the few players who has experienced New Zealand rugby first hand. He played with Marist St Patricks in Wellington some years back and looks forward to catching up with old friends in the final week of the tour.