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Second Test Preview: New Zealand v Ireland

Second Test Preview: New Zealand v Ireland

After shipping a heavy defeat in the series opener, Ireland will be determined to eradicate the errors and give New Zealand a much stiffer test. Will Christchurch’s AMI Stadium witness a history-making win for Declan Kidney’s men over the All Blacks?

2012 SUMMER TOUR SECOND TEST: Saturday, June 16

NEW ZEALAND v IRELAND, AMI Stadium, 7.35pm local time/8.35am Irish time (live Sky Sports 2/RTÉ Radio 1 (DAB, LW 252 and RTÉ.ie))

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Team News: The Ireland team to play New Zealand in the second Test of the summer tour has been named. The selected side shows four changes to the one that took to the pitch in Auckland last weekend.

Gordon D’Arcy starts at inside centre in place of Keith Earls, who was not considered for selection due to a chest injury that he picked up in the first Test defeat to the All Blacks.

D’Arcy’s selection reunites his centre partnership with Brian O’Driscoll as the Leinster duo line out as Ireland’s starting centres for the 48th time.

Elsewhere in the back-line, Andrew Trimble comes onto the left wing in place of Simon Zebo who is named in the replacements at the expense of Darren Cave.

Kevin McLaughlin, who came on in the second half of the tour opener, is named in the starting back row, with Peter O’Mahony swapping places to drop to the bench.

The fit-again Mike Ross comes back into the team in place of Declan Fitzpatrick at tighthead prop. Fitzpatrick will provide cover on the bench instead of Ronan Loughney.

Saturday’s match in Christchurch will mark Jamie Heaslip’s 50th Test appearance for Ireland. The Naas man is the 19th Irish forward to pass through the half century mark the last of which was hooker Rory Best against England last August.

Looking forward to the second game of the tour, Ireland head coach Declan Kidney said: “We took a heavy hit last Saturday night but we’re also long enough in it to realise if we get our parts right it closes up quite considerably.

“We took a good look at things on Monday with the players and saw where we went wrong so the focus this week will be 99% on ourselves, we need to get ourselves right and not be concentrating on the others.

“We know the turnovers, a few areas of the game like kick-offs, both for and against, we can improve in those two areas that will give us so much more ball, percentages of possession and territory…if we can start improving them, it’s a different game.”

Meanwhile, the New Zealand team to play Ireland in the second Test shows just one change with Adam Thomson taking over from injured Victor Vito at blindside flanker.

Victor Vito has been sidelined by a medial knee ligament injury which he picked up in last Saturday’s 42-10 victory over Ireland at Eden Park.

Thomson, who replaced Vito in the second half of that game, will don the number 6 jersey this time around with newcomer Sam Cane standying by to make his Test debut off the bench.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen said that despite the first Test win over Ireland, there had still been a lot for the All Blacks to work on this week.

“Once again for us it’s about our preparation, getting clarity early in the week and building in intensity so we can have a performance we can all be proud of on Saturday,” he said.

“We (the coaches) are expecting further improvements in our game due to the extra training and preparation time we have had together, along with having a game under our belt.

“We are also expecting Ireland to improve, as they are a nation with a ‘never-say-die’ attitude, so what we did last time won’t be good enough.”

Commenting on the All Blacks’ return to Christchurch, Hansen added: “It’s great that Test footy has returned to Christchurch and the players are looking forward to playing in front of a sell-out crowd.

“The team, especially those of us from Christchurch, know that people have still been doing it tough so hopefully we can give them a performance on Saturday that puts a smile on their faces.”

NEW ZEALAND: Israel Dagg (Crusaders); Zac Guildford (Crusaders), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes), Sonny Bill Williams (Chiefs), Julian Savea (Hurricanes); Dan Carter (Crusaders), Aaron Smith (Highlanders); Tony Woodcock (Blues), Andrew Hore (Highlanders), Owen Franks (Crusaders), Brodie Retallick (Chiefs), Sam Whitelock (Crusaders), Adam Thomson (Highlanders), Richie McCaw (Crusaders) (capt), Kieran Read (Crusaders).

Replacements: Hikawera Elliot (Chiefs), Ben Franks (Crusaders), Ali Williams (Blues), Sam Cane (Chiefs), Piri Weepu (Blues), Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Ben Smith (Highlanders).

IRELAND: Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster); Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Brian O’Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) (capt), Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster); Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster); Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster), Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster), Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster), Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Sean O’Brien (Clontarf/Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster).

Replacements: Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Dungannon/Ulster), Donncha O’Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster), Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster), Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster).

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite, Pascal Gauzere (both France)
Television Match Official: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): New Zealand to win: 1/40; Draw: 50/1; Ireland to win: 12/1

Pre-Match Quotes: Kevin McLaughlin (Ireland) – “There was definitely an element there of the lads having to step up to the speed of the game. Super Rugby is a lot different to the RaboDirect PRO12 – it is a lot faster.

“The Kiwis just ran from everywhere (in the first Test), especially when we kicked loosely a couple of times, they were pretty unstoppable in their counter attack. We just need to be a lot tighter defensively and up to the pace of the game.

“We know the level we have to be at now to compete. Training this week has been really sharp. There has been no heads down or anything. We are in a really good position to go out and have a good go at them.

“I was happy with how the Heineken Cup final went. Seanie (O’Brien) played unbelievably and I felt that I did my job. It is brilliant having some familiar faces in the back row. It means that I can just go out there and play my own game.

“Peter (O’Mahony) went well last week but, as you say, myself, Sean and Jamie (Heaslip) play together week in, week out and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We’re used to playing off each other. That is an obvious advantage for me, coming into the side.”

Richie McCaw (New Zealand) – “There is quite a few areas we need to be better, we made a few mistakes, turned the ball over at times and if we get them right we’ll hopefully have a lift in performance because there’s no doubt the Irish will be better for that run and we’re going to have to make sure we are as well.

“You’ve got to make sure you go back to the start and prepare like you did last week and iron out the things perhaps we didn’t have time to do and hopefully that will mean a lift in the intensity and also the accuracy.

“It will be nice running out here (in Christchurch), there is a pretty cool atmosphere here and it will be nice to have the home fans in behind us.

“The atmosphere we have experienced here with the Crusaders before has been pretty cool and I’m sure it will be the same with the All Blacks this weekend.”

Pre-Match Links –

Kidney Previews Christchurch Clash

Heaslip Talks Through Ireland’s Approach

Trimble Backs Ireland To ‘Rise To The Occasion’

Tainton: We Need To Player ‘Our Game’

We Have To Front Up And Stay Focused – Ryan

Head-To-Head: New Zealand v Ireland

Recent Meetings –

2008: Summer Tour: New Zealand 21 Ireland 11, Westpac Stadium; Autumn Test: Ireland 3 New Zealand 22, Croke Park
2010: Summer Tour: New Zealand 66 Ireland 28, Yarrow Stadium; Autumn Test: Ireland 18 New Zealand 38, Aviva Stadium

2012: Summer Tour: New Zealand 42 Ireland 10, Eden Park

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