Click here for more photos of the Ireland squad’s training session at the Auckland Grammar School on Tuesday.
Pictured above: Munster number eight and captain Anthony Foley wears the ‘Barry Crocker’ T-shirt for having a ‘shocker’ at a recent training session in Auckland. Having not played for Ireland since March of last year, Foley will be hoping to force his way into contention for the Australian Test match in Perth on Saturday week.
Paul O’Connell and Alan Quinlan run through a passing drill in Auckland. A power cut hit the North Island city on Monday, forcing the Irish squad to postpone their gym recovery session until the late evening. However, some players still managed to do weights in the dark!
Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll goes through some stretches in the wintry conditions in Auckland. O’Driscoll is second to Keith Wood in terms of number of Test matches as captain – Wood’s record stands at 36, Saturday’s second Test against the All Blacks will be O’Driscoll 29th time leading Ireland. He has skippered the side to 21 wins.
Scrum half Isaac Boss, who missed out on making his Ireland debut in Hamilton last weekend, flights a pass out at training on Tuesday.
Boss’ father Allan had a busy day last Saturday. He began it by working on his farm with his 80 Friesian cows, then he went to support his local Tokoroa club team Southern United and in the evening, he was in the Waikato Stadium crowd with his wife Christine for the first Test between New Zealand and Ireland.
Before the game, Boss told the Daily Post: “I can’t wait to watch Isaac but club rugby, well that comes first. And there is stock to look after as well!”
Gordon D’Arcy, in his diary entry for the Irish Rugby Supporters Club website, spoke of the positives from Ireland’s first Test performance.
He explained: “Brian ‘s try was one we had worked on in various combinations in training and it was a sweet one to put in. Andrew’s try came off some great work as well. Despite the poor start, we soon got into them in the middle of the pitch and we combined pretty well with Besty (Neil Best) and Wally (David Wallace) at the breakdown point.
“We took the defeat hard but we know we are an 80-minute side and we know we can do better – that is what this tour is about.”
Full-back Geordan Murphy is a doubt for the second Test due to an Achilles tendon strain. The injury is one which has affected the Kildare man since he broke his leg in the lead-up to the 2003 World Cup.
Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan, who admitted that Murphy’s tendon was “quite tight” at the end of the first Test in Hamilton, said: “Geordan’s training on it at the moment but we just want to make sure it doesn’t flare up.”
Marcus Horan who has started 10 of Ireland’s last 11 Test matches – a winter vomiting bug kept the Munster prop out of the 6 Nations clash with France in February.
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**