Click here for photos of the Ireland squad’s training session at the Auckland Grammar School on Tuesday.
Pictured above: The Irish squad in the picturesque setting of the Auckland Grammar School.
Geordan Murphy, who is nursing an Achilles tendon strain, throws a pass out at training.
Reflecting on the first Test in his Sunday Times column, Murphy said: “When I look back at where exactly we lost it, I keep thinking of that 15-minute spell in the middle of the second half, when it seemed that every decision and every bounce went away from us. Such as when Neil Best made that interception and was hauled down in their 22. That’s a time when we just had to come away with points. What happened? We got pinged at the scrum.
“And that intercepted by Luke McAlister on Paul O’Connell. It’s bad enough missing out on an opportunity but, when you let in seven points at the other end 30 seconds later, it’s a sickener.”
Brian O’Driscoll gets ready to take a pass at training on Tuesday.
The Irish skipper believes his side will be fired up to go again against the All Blacks after the disappointment of last weekend’s defeat in Hamilton. He said: “We have proved that we can match the All Blacks for 65 minutes, now we have got to do it for the full 80. And we have proved in the past that we can compete against the All Blacks in a one-off game, but we have never put two consecutive performances together against them. We must aim to do that if we are to grow as a team.
“It was a disappointed Ireland dressing room after the first Test. I think were were more than plucky. I think we had them worried and rightly so.”
Paul O’Connell tries his hand at hurling during the session. The Munster lock was quite successful in other sports before he decided to concentrate on rugby – he stopped playing rugby between the ages of 12 and 16 to give swimming and golf a proper go.
A winner of junor national swimming titles and a four handicap golfer, he said in a recent interview: “When I was ten I would have been training 15 hours a week for swimming. John Dempsey and then Gerry Ryan, these two real good Limerick guys (both coaches at the Seal swimming club), gave me a real good grounding and I learned a lot about dedication. In golf, John Gleeson looked after me and what he taught me could be applied to any sport.”
Ronan O’Gara who took his Ireland points record to 620 points last week. He kicked three penalties and converted tries from Brian O’Driscoll and Andrew Trimble for a 13-point haul in the first Test.
Brian O’Driscoll ended a run of six try-less Test matches for himself in Hamilton last Saturday when he strode in for a brilliant ninth-minute score. It was his 28th try in 65 international appearances.
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**