Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Ireland v New Zealand: Joe Schmidt laughs off All Blacks' bid to make Irish favourites

By Jonathan Bradley

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt is paying little attention to his Kiwi counterpart Steve Hansen's attempts to paint the All Blacks as underdogs in tomorrow's Aviva Stadium clash (5.30pm kick-off).

Hansen yesterday claimed that Ireland should be expected to repeat their historic Chicago triumph over the back-to-back World champions when the teams meet again.

"I wouldn't suggest that be become a bookmaker," joked Schmidt.

"I think we're at about 6/1. Not that we're allowed to indulge in that, but it's probably better than the 12/1 or 13/1 we were in Chicago.

"So maybe comparatively we're a little better off, but you certainly wouldn't put us as favourites.

"(Not against) a team that had won 18 in a row against some of the best teams in the world, and done it by some margin too."

Schmidt has made three changes to the 23 that were pitched into battle in Soldier Field two weeks ago, with two involving the promotion of Ulstermen.

Iain Henderson is on the bench after a shoulder injury saw him miss the first two games of the November slate while Paddy Jackson is preferred to Joey Carbery as reserve out-half. Henderson's inclusion comes at the expense of Ultan Dillane who is carrying a knee injury.

In the only change to the starting side, Sean O'Brien replaces his injured provincial team-mate Jordi Murphy in the seven jersey.

"Iain Henderson is really motivated to come on and help out later in this game, and that keeps the pressure on Donnacha (Ryan) and Devin (Toner) who might be starting this one," added Schmidt.

"We thought it was probably better that Sean start than come off the bench.

"He needs to feel his way into the game a little bit, to get a run straight from the warm-up into the game."


Ireland v New Zealand: Schmidt warns of Kiwis on revenge mission  

Ireland v New Zealand: Dane Coles determined to make amends and delighted to welcome back 'twin towers' 

Ireland v New Zealand: Steve Hansen says Irish are favourites to triumph on their home patch

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph