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Snow joke: Ireland can beat New Zealand says Tommy Bowe

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster star Tommy Bowe thinks 2016 could be the year that Ireland finally break their New Zealand hoodoo.

Bowe was in Chicago last night for confirmation of a historic Test in the Windy City's famed Soldier Field between Joe Schmidt's men and the All Blacks on November 5. They will also host Steve Hansen's world champions at the Aviva Stadium, as well as Australia and Canada, in their usual trio of home autumn internationals.

Bowe, who is currently on the sidelines with a knee injury suffered at the World Cup, expects to be back at full fitness for the conclusion of Ulster’s season, as well as Ireland’s summer tour to South Africa and is excited by the unique prospect of facing New Zealand in the legendary home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

The Six Nations have got off to a bumpy start for the two-time defending champions, but their second highest try-scorer of all time thinks they could secure a first ever win against rugby’s most-feared side at the 29th attempt.

“For us Irish, unfortunately we don’t have the best record against the All Blacks,” said the winger who started in the last meeting between the sides when Ryan Crotty broke Irish hearts with a last-gasp try in 2013.

“We’ve never beat them, but we’ve been very, very close on plenty of occasions.

“We have massive support here in Chicago and in America. It could be a chance for us to finally get over that hurdle and potentially beat the All Blacks.”

The IRFU’s CEO Philip Browne expects the contest to be a special occasion.

“There is a huge population in the USA who are proud of their Irish heritage as well as large numbers of Irish who have migrated more recently to live and work in the USA,” he said.

“We know that many of these people are Irish Rugby fans and we look forward to seeing them pack out the stadium, alongside some of our passionate travelling fans as we take on the World Champions, New Zealand.”

Meanwhile,  Ireland may be suffering from a growing list of injuries ahead of next week’s visit to Twickenham, but full-back Rob Kearney believes they can still defeat England on their own patch.

“We can. Of course we can,” Kearney said when asked if Ireland can win. “The same way we could have beaten Wales and we could have beaten France.”

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