Paddy Wallace and Rob Kearney insist there is no fear of this Ireland squad not being motivated for next Saturday’s Test match against Australia – particularly as no Irish team has beaten the Wallabies away since the 1979.
Paddy Wallace crowned his first start for Ireland in the centre with a first half try in the 21-11 defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington. Far from being downhearted after the loss, the Ulster player is keen for more action next weekend against the Wallabies.
“There are a lot of incentives going into this next game. There’s a new coach taking over in the next few months and guys are going to be wanting to put their hand up for that,” Wallace admitted.
“There is certainly a carrot to aim for next week in Melbourne and it will not be any trouble for us to get up for that game.”
It was a familiar story for Ireland against the All Blacks as they fell away near the hour mark having led on three occasions thanks to Wallace’s try and two Ronan O’Gara penalties.
The belief was certainly there that Wallace and company could become the first Ireland side to beat New Zealand.
“Whenever we were leading up to the game Brian (O’Driscoll) spoke about believing that we would get to 70 minutes and be in touch with the All Blacks and that when we were in touch we didn’t let it slip away,” he added.
“Unfortunately we did (let it slip). It was a game we will rue the chances missed.
“They are obviously one of the top sides in the world and playing them in their back yard is going to be tough, but we’ll look back on it and it’s a chance lost really.”
Commenting on his 20th-minute try – his second in Test rugby – the Belfast man said: “It was nice to get a start and get a try and it settled me into the game pretty early so I was very happy.
“It’s something I’ll look back on whenever I finish my rugby but it’s always nice to score tries, especially against the All Blacks.”
Meanwhile, winger Rob Kearney, one of Ireland’s best players on the night, was happy with his 80 minutes against the All Blacks.
The Louth youngster covered a lot of ground, with his kicking out of hand tested throughout by the All Blacks, and he conceded afterwards that, frustration aside, it was hard to feel anything but cold.
Kearney said: “The All Blacks are renowned for their running rugby and you’re looking forward to testing yourself in that sort of environment, and then you come down and it’s just lashing rain.
“And you’ve very little to do – it does make it less enjoyable. I’ve never been so cold in my life!
“But next week we’ll get ourselves up again. It’s been a really long season and there were a few games towards the end of the Magners League where I was shutting down a bit, but there aren’t many opportunities to come down to the Southern Hemisphere and this whole environment is still very new to me.
“I’m not saying that once you get to the 50-60 cap mark you don’t love it, but playing for your country is hugely satisfying and it’s very easy to get yourself up for it,” he added, after winning his sixth successive Ireland cap.