Bowe believes in Irish upset
Published 19/11/2010 | 13:11
Tommy Bowe accepts it will take rugby perfection for Ireland to halt the All Blacks juggernaut at Aviva Stadium tomorrow.
New Zealand are overwhelming favourites to successfully negotiate the next assignment on their grand slam tour when they swagger into Dublin.
The world's best team and Tri-Nations champions have never lost to Ireland in 23 matches dating back to 1905 and it would take a seismic upset for that to change tomorrow.
Facing them is a team whose confidence is brittle with a defeat by South Africa and unconvincing win against Samoa posing some difficult questions.
Bowe, however, believes Ireland can topple the All Blacks if they strain every sinew in the pursuit of a famous victory.
"There's a lot of excitement because New Zealand are playing some great rugby at the moment. It's a massive challenge for us," said the Ospreys winger.
"The intensity of training has stepped up a notch and we know that if we want to compete against these boys we need to be at the top of our game for 80 minutes and that's what we've been working on.
"New Zealand like to play at a certain intensity and it's up to us to match that and go up a level.
"There is a definite confidence that we have the ability to beat them.
"Their record against us is why we're serious underdogs for this match once again and we know every player has to put everything on the line for 80 minutes.
"Hopefully we'll get the bounce of the ball and it will be our day tomorrow.
"There's no panicking going on. We know we are underdogs but we know that given the players we have, if things works out for us we're well capable of victory."
It is difficult to see in which department Ireland can target the tourists with their own decline since the RBS 6 Nations adding to the sense of futility.
Several players - most notably captain Brian O'Driscoll, though he is hardly alone - are struggling to make an impact, but otherwise it is hard to explain their slump.
Head coach Declan Kidney has recalled en masse the side thwarted by South Africa with prop Tom Court replacing injured Tony Buckley at tighthead in the only change.
Kidney revealed the selection was to give the players a chance at redemption and Bowe admits they had let themselves down in the autumn opener.
"We didn't play to our potential that day and there's a lot to improve on," he said.
"This is our third game in and we're more familiar with each and the Aviva Stadium.
"The fact we've been together longer is going to be a massive factor - it means we should have more of an understanding.
"We watched a few clips of the Scotland game (Scotland lost 49-3) and New Zealand were very good at capitalising on mistakes.
"That's the one area we need to concentrate on and minimise as much as possible."
Ireland endured yet another chastening defeat by New Zealand during the summer when they were flattened 66-28.
Bowe was among the try scorers, helping peg back a 38-7 half-time deficit in a fightback the team is using to inspire hope.
"We came back strongly against New Zealand in the summer," he said. "We scored four tries that day and not many teams do that against them.
"We showed that if we hang onto the ball and play rugby, we can score. But of course we gave them a massive head start and it's important not to do that."