Halloween may be over for another year, but New Zealand backs coach Wayne Smith reckons his new-look backline could produce fireworks at Lansdowne Road tomorrow. Click here for his quotes.
Halloween may be over for another year, but New Zealand backs coach Wayne Smith reckons his new-look backline could produce fireworks at Lansdowne Road tomorrow.
– ON NEW ZEALAND’S MUCH-CHANGED BACKLINE –
“We have a few new combinations this week, but that’s the beauty of coaching, you get to work on different things with different groups of players.
“It’s a dangerous backline and they’ve developed a really good rapport.
“We’ve had a lot of time this week to work with guys like Nick Evans and Ma’a Nonu and if what we’re doing comes off then I’d say there’ll be fireworks alright.
“But there’s no point in doing all your best work during the week. The game is played on a Saturday, not a Wednesday, so we’ll make sure we’re prepared.
“Sure, the expectations are always high, but the pressure to perform comes from within, not from what others are thinking.
“We’ve got our own standards to maintain. The new guys coming in have seen last week’s display and they know where the bar is.”
– ON THE OPENSIDE BATTLE BETWEEN RICHIE MCCAW AND JOHNNY O’CONNOR –
“Richie’s just the best at his art. Johnny O’Connor’s a good player, a typical flyer like we’re used to in New Zealand – but he’s facing the best in the world on Saturday.
“Lansdowne Road will be a difficult, passionate venue. Passion fuels performance, so we’re expecting a good battle.
“Ireland have a few Lions with something to prove as well.”
– ON LANSDOWNE ROAD –
“It’s quite an exposed field and a difficult place to play. It’s patriotic, people are close and you’re exposed to the elements.
“We’ve had to change our gameplan before, the Lions first Test was an example of that. We’ll wait and see what the conditions are like.”
– ON IRELAND’S DEFENCE –
“Mike Ford’s been their defensive coach for a while, he was with the Lions so we’ve got a fair bit of intellectual capital about the way they operate.
“I think Ireland will play with real passion. I’ve been reading about the 1978 Munster team – it was 27 years ago (when they beat the All Blacks) and they’ve had 55 reunions celebrating that win. That tells you what it means to them.
“I wouldn’t think we would get much ground given to us.”