Rory Best believes he can lead Ireland to an All Blacks win
Rory Best believes his Ireland side can create history in Chicago tonight (8.00pm) by beating the All Blacks for the first time. Ireland trained at Soldier Field yesterday and have no injury worries going into the game, and their captain said confidence levels are high as they prepare to face the world champions, who are on an 18-game winning-streak.
The Ulster hooker reckons the presence of head coach Joe Schmidt in Ireland's corner could tip the balance and deliver a historic result.
Tonight's game is the first of two Ireland meetings with New Zealand this month as they look to end a 111-year run without a win in 28 attempts.
"We firmly believe in ourselves," Best said. "We respect them - and you have to respect what they're doing, the way they're play rugby and have been going about it - but we don't fear them.
"The way this Ireland team has been set up under Joe, we definitely feel we can beat anyone. Since I've come in under this I suppose 'golden generation' with Paulie (O'Connell) and Drico (Brian O'Driscoll) and Rog (Ronan O'Gara), a list of people, we never went into any game thinking that we were gong to lose; it was a different sort of mentality that we had, and this game is no different "
Steve Hansen's All Blacks have not lost since August 2015.
But Best (left) said he won't address the history of the fixture or the last meeting between the sides when he addresses the squad ahead of the game.
"It's something that there's enough made of outside of our team environment to talk about history and it never happening," he said.
"For me it's all about our process and about where we're going and where we're looking to go.