Saturday, June 23, 2012


Ireland v New Zealand in Hamilton

Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

The talk this week has been about how poor the All Blacks played last weekend. Funny thing, and speaking as a Kiwi, I have always felt the All Blacks as a team do not respond well when under pressure. Some examples. Last week, firstly, then v France in the World Cup final last year, against v France in 1999. That makes only 3 examples out of 100+ test matches. I saw it last weekend as Ireland constantly put the All Blacks under pressure. Just a thought.

For this game I just feel Ireland can’t do it twice in a row. They showed that lack of consistency at the Rugby World Cup last year. Their backline is not as strong as last weeks. D’Arcy is out and so is back row strongman Jamie Heaslip.

New Zealand are without Dan Carter and Richie McCaw moves to an unfamiliar number eight position. Carter is out with injury which gives Aron Cruden, who played so well when Carter was injured in the World Cup, a chance to prove again his credentials. Luke Romano makes his test debut with Retallick moving to the bench.

New Zealand will not tolerate another poor performance. The players know it. They are under pressure.So is Ireland. Can they front up again and play with the same intensity as last week? This writer doesn’t think so

Last Five Encounters
16.06.2012 New Zealand 22-19 in Christchurch
09.06.2012 New Zealand 42-10 in Auckland
20.11.2010 New Zealand 38-18 in Dublin
12.06.2010 New Zealand 66-29 in New Plymouth
15.11.2008 New Zealand 22-3 in Dublin

Ireland Last Five
16.06.2012 v New Zealand L 19-22 in Christchurch
09.06.2012 v New Zealand L 10-42 in Auckland
17.03.2012 v England L 9-30 at Twickenham (6 Nations)
10.03.2012 v Scotland W 32-14 in Dublin (6 Nations)
04.03.2012 v France D 17-17 in Paris (6 Nations)

New Zealand Last Five
16.06.2012 v Ireland W 22-19 in Christchurch
09.06.2012 v Ireland W  42-10 in Auckland
23.10.2011 v France W 8-7 in Auckland (World Cup, Final)
16.10.2011 v Australia W 20-6 in Auckland (SF)
09.10.2011 v Argentina W 33-10 in Auckland (QF)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, Ireland 9th

IRB Ranking Points New Zealand 91.43, Ireland 79.85

Prediction: NZ can’t possibly play two poor tests in a row. They’ll be weaker without Carter and McCaw out of position and not at his best. Can Ireland match their intensity of last week? I don’t think so. NZ by 9 points.




15   Israel Dagg Hawkes Bay
14   Benjamin Smith Otago
13   Conrad Smith Wellington
12   Sonny Bill Williams Canterbury
11   Hosea Gear Wellington
10   Aaron Cruden Manawatu
9   Aaron Smith  Manawatu
8   Richard McCaw (Capt.) Canterbury
7   Samuel Cane Bay of Plenty
6   Liam Meesam Waikato
5   Samuel Whitelock Canterbury
4   Luke Romano * Canterbury
3   Owen Franks Canterbury
2   Andrew Hore Taranaki
1   Tony Woodcock North Harbour
16   Keven Mealamu Auckland
17   Benjamin Franks Tasman
18   Brodie Retallick  Bay of Plenty
19   Adam Thompson Otago
20   Piri Weepu Auckland
21   Beauden Barrett * Taranaki
22   Tamati Ellison Wellington
    HEAD COACH: Steven Hansen

* Test debut



15   Robert Kearney  Leinster
14   Fergus McFadden  Leinster
13   Brian O'Driscoll (Capt.) Leinster
12   Patrick Wallace Ulster
11   Keith Earls Munster
10   Jonathan Sexton  Leinster
9   Conor Murray Munster
8   Peter O'Mahony  Munster
7   Sean O'Brien  Leinster
6   Kevin McLaughlin Leinster
5   Donnacha Ryan  Munster
4   Daniel Touhy  Ulster
3   Michael Ross Leinster
2   Rory Best  Ulster
1   Cian Healy  Leinster
16   Sean Cronin  Leinster
17   Declan Fitzpatrick  Ulster
18   Donncha O'Callaghan  Munster
19   Christopher Henry Ulster
20   Eoin Reddan  Leinster
21   Ronan O'Gara  Munster
22   Andrew Trimble Ulster
    HEAD COACH: Declan Kidney

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