According to The Irish Times, Ireland look set to embark on a tour of New Zealand for the first time in a decade.
Talks between both New Zealand and Ireland parties have reportedly settled on an Irish three-test tour of New Zealand in July of 2022. Ireland are also scheduled to host the All Blacks in November of 2021.
Ireland assistant coach Andy Farrell told the Irish Times about the anticipation and buzz surrounding this weekend’s test between the two.
“You would expect it to be like that come New Zealand week. They’re the best team in the world for a reason and we get excited,” he told the paper. “We want to play against them as much as we possibly can.
“Why? Because we want to test ourselves and we want to keep on improving and pushing up the ladder. If we could play them every week it would be good for us because it would be good for our development.”
Ireland finally edged the All Blacks in 2016 with a dominant display in Chicago, running out victors 40-29 and snapping a 111-year drought after coming painfully close on several occasions.
On Ireland’s 2012 tour of New Zealand a last-gasp Dan Carter dropped goal secured a 22-19 victory, and one year later in Dublin the All Blacks erased a 19-0 deficit to win 24-22 after a last-minute Ryan Crotty try and a retaken conversion attempt from Aaron Cruden.
Farrell noted the All Blacks’ ability under pressure as a key area of strength.
“Their ability to stay calm and stick to the processes and not panic, play good territory, hit people on the break and play at speed … all the guys are comfortable on the ball,” Farrell said.
“Even their front-rowers have got a good feel for time and space. They’ve been playing their system for quite some time now. They’re just very good at what they do.”
“Fear drives players because they want to perform against the best. It’s two years since we last played them so it is the fear of making sure we put our best foot forward. So I think the fear drives us a little bit.”
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