Ireland coach Joe Schmidt says his team cannot afford to go into the World Cup quarter-final against the All Blacks on Saturday with an underdog mentality.
The All Blacks are slight favourites to beat Ireland and potentially go all the way to claim their third successive World Cup title. Ireland, meanwhile, are looking to progress to the semi-finals for the first time in their history.
Recent history suggests that the game will be closely fought, as Ireland claimed their first win on home soil against New Zealand last November and have won two of the last three encounters between the teams.
Ireland have, however, struggled in the pool stages of the World Cup, putting on a fine first-half performance against Scotland but were unable to replicate that against Japan, Samoa and Russia. The All Blacks, meanwhile, showed few weaknesses as they charged to the top of Pool B without losing a match.
After naming an experienced lineup to face the All Blacks, Schmidt has backed his team to get the win.
‘We’re certainly not going to sneak up on them any more, we’re not going to surprise them,’ Schmidt said. ‘They are well aware of how we play and what they are going to do to combat that.
‘I wouldn’t be a great believer in that you learn more from your losses – you learn more from every experience. There are so many variables that go into a result in a Test match that I learn from every win, loss or draw that we have.
‘You can’t go out against an All Blacks side and accept that you are second fiddle,’ Schmidt added. ‘There’s a number of those players within the side that have contributed to a fair bit of history for us.’
Photo: EPA/DAVE HUNT