AP NEWS TEST SITE
ADVERTISEMENT

Party-pooping All Blacks face an Ireland in high spirits

November 11, 2021 GMT
New Zealand players react at the end of the rugby union international match between Wales and New Zealand at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. New Zealand won 54-16. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
1 of 2
New Zealand players react at the end of the rugby union international match between Wales and New Zealand at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. New Zealand won 54-16. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
1 of 2
New Zealand players react at the end of the rugby union international match between Wales and New Zealand at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. New Zealand won 54-16. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

DUBLIN (AP) — Dublin is on notice. In town are the All Blacks, rugby’s ultimate party-poopers.

They are having another one of those tours.

In Washington, the United States was congratulating itself on an ambitious bid for the 2027 Rugby World Cup until their Eagles were smashed by 104 points.

In Cardiff, Wales opened its stadium to a first full crowd in 20 months and the home side was demolished by 54 points.

ADVERTISEMENT

In Rome, the debut of new Italy coach Kieran Crowley, a former All Black, was a thumping by 47 points.

This Saturday the party is at a sold-out Lansdowne Road and New Zealand has turned up finding Ireland in high spirits.

What was expected to be a web-clearing runout against Japan last weekend turned into a wholesale clearing out of Japan to the tune of 60-5. Notwithstanding Japan’s unforeseen apparent stage fright, Ireland’s developing game plan to box-kick less and play more heads-up rugby suddenly blossomed into nine tries of highlight-reel quality.

The Irish switched the point of attack well, created lots of options, and ran good lines. Japan was overwhelmed.

“We’d love to do it all the time. We just got presented with the pictures and we read them quite well,” Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton said.

He and his team expect a vastly different, fuzzier picture on Saturday.

A team that can go through you and around you, was one complimentary description of New Zealand by Ireland coach Andy Farrell.

Farrell assisted Joe Schmidt when Ireland beat the All Blacks in 2016 and 2018, and when they were hammered in the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarterfinals in their last meeting. In a first match against New Zealand as the boss, Farrell is seeing an improved, aggressive defense from the visitors and a strong rolling maul.

“You can’t lose any moment whatsoever. If you lose any moment against the Kiwis, you get burnt,” he said.

With only the Japan game as a warm up, and given an A-grade performance, Farrell picked the same side except for giving one of his Lions, lock Iain Henderson, the start ahead of Tadhg Beirne. Beirne, he said, will get to “finish the game really well for us.”

New Zealand chose the side which destroyed Wales two weeks ago with a start for Sevu Reece on the left wing.

The All Blacks have been lauded on tour for their record-setting attack, but their defense has been just as good, conceding only three tries in three games, and only one in the first half.

It will be tested by three New Zealanders in green jerseys — backs Jamison Gibson-Park, Bundee Aki and James Lowe — all of whom scored tries against Japan.

Lowe is one of a number of Ireland players yet to play the All Blacks, many of whom he fought beside in Super Rugby and a couple he went to school with in Nelson.

“Mate,” Lowe said, “I can’t wait.”

___

Lineups:

Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Jonathan Sexton (captain), Jamison Gibson-Park; Jack Conan, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Ronan Kelleher, Andrew Porter. Reserves: Rob Sheehan, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Keith Earls.

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sevu Reece, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Ardie Savea, Dalton Papalii, Ethan Blackadder, Sam Whitelock (captain), Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. Reserves: Dane Coles, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Tyrel Lomax, Tupou Vaa’i, Akira Ioane, Finlay Christie, Richie Mo’unga, David Havili.

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports