Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Ireland are confident - Fitzgerald

Luke Fitzgerald

Luke Fitzgerald insists Ireland's confidence remains intact as they go in search of the one outstanding Test scalp they have yet to add to their collection.

New Zealand are the only side they have never beaten but on Saturday they will get another crack at the Tri-Nations champions. The odds are stacked against them with a difficult year failing to improve this autumn.

"I think everyone is confident and I'm confident that whatever team takes the field on Saturday will be able to do a good job for us," Fitzgerald said.

A dispiriting loss to South Africa and unconvincing victory over Samoa has left them with plenty to address, but Fitzgerald insists morale is not an issue.

He added: "Personally I feel very confident. Within the squad I don't think there is any sign of anyone lacking in confidence.

"I think everyone is very confident. Maybe the spectacle hasn't been there in some of the games, but I don't think either team have played well in the two games. We know there are areas where we need to improve but I think we are going in the right direction."

Fitzgerald believes Ireland's attempts at playing an expansive game have been foiled by the poor conditions that have swept across Lansdowne Road over the past two weekends.

"I don't want to give an excuse for it but I think the conditions don't really suit that expansive rugby," he said. "Everyone is itching to get their hands on the ball constantly. I think it's just a matter of doing it at the right times."

Fitzgerald is unperturbed by Ireland's dismal record against New Zealand.

"I've only ever played New Zealand once. I'm not bringing too much baggage myself, I don't really think about the record that much," he said. "I don't think it will have much of an effect on the team."

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