Wednesday 22 February 2017

'If there’s one team the Kiwis would like to lose to it’s probably us in Ireland' - Jared Payne on friendly slagging

Published 15/11/2016 | 13:11

Craig Gilroy, Cian Healy, Jared Payne and Donnacha Ryan celebrate victory over the All Blacks in Chicago. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Craig Gilroy, Cian Healy, Jared Payne and Donnacha Ryan celebrate victory over the All Blacks in Chicago. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jared Payne has revealed that his family back home were over-joyed when Ireland sealed their first-ever win over the All Blacks two weeks ago.

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The New Zealand native moved to Ireland in 2011 when he joined Ulster and qualified to play for his adopted country based on World Rugby’s three-year residency rule and Payne admitted that there are no split loyalties in his house since he made his international debut two years ago.

Payne has been a mainstay in the Ireland side under Joe Schmidt and has rapidly become one of the most important parts of the Kiwi’s structured game-plan.

While Payne’s family will not be at the Aviva Stadium for the rematch against his home country on Saturday, he insisted that they were fully supportive of him and his decision to play for Ireland.

"There’s been slagging but it’s all been worth it,” Payne smiled.

“It’s just good natured. They’ve been good about it. If there’s one team the Kiwis would like to lose to it’s probably us in Ireland. It’s been good natured.

“They’re (family) Irish supporters. They’ve supported me in whatever I’ve done, my mum and dad. There’s been slagging from a few uncles, but that’s about it. Mum and dad and my brother are over the moon for Ireland and what we’ve done.”

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Payne played alongside New Zealand centre Ryan Crotty in their earlier years and the man who broke Irish hearts in 2013 was on the receiving end of it two weeks ago.

Injury has meant that Crotty will not get a chance to go up against his old mate again in Dublin but Payne said that he had been gracious in defeat.

“I spoke to him and a few others that I’ve played with. It was good to catch up after the game. I saw them at the Bulls training place as well when we were over there. I had a bit of a chat.

“It was good to see how they’re doing. It’s been a long time. It’s always nice beating your mates but they were gracious in defeat in fairness. They were very good about it.

“Nobody likes to lose so they were definitely gritting their teeth a bit but it’s all part of it. No true competitor wouldn’t be after losing a game.”

Like his Ireland team-mates, Payne has warned against a ‘Blacklash’ this weekend and he is expecting the challenge to be even greater than it was two weeks ago.

“The All Blacks, every game there’s pressure,” Payne maintained.

“They’re expected by the New Zealand public to win every game. Chicago was no different and it’ll be no different this weekend.

“(They will be) A lot better. I think there’s a lot of areas they’ll clean up and improve on. I think if they do improve in those areas, they’ll be tough to handle on Saturday.

“You’ve got to look at what we’ve done but you have to change a few things to keep them on their toes. There’s a bit of a mix.

“We weren’t good enough in some areas that we’ve got to improve on. Hopefully, maybe, there’ll be a few opportunities to expose what we saw too.

“It’ll keep us on our toes alright. There’ll be an edge to training. It’s good that we’re realistic as a squad. It’d be silly if we stood up on a pedestal and said we’re the best now. They’re going to be a lot better and we’ve addressed that.

“I think it’s easy enough to see the challenge when you’re one in 111 years. It’s pretty big. Look, it’s great to have the first one off our back but it’s a fresh week and a better All Black team. The challenge will be a lot bigger.”

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