IRELAND are looking to improve for the third week in succession when they run out to take on the All Blacks at Waikato Stadium tomorrow.
Ireland followed up their limp 42-10 defeat in the opening Test in Auckland with an excellent display in Christchurch last weekend, only losing 22-19 due to a last minute Dan Carter drop goal.
Victory tomorrow would see Declan Kidney’s side create history by becoming the first Irish team to defeat New Zealand in 107 years of competition but assistant coach Les Kiss says they are not getting hung up on that and are motivated by the desire to show signs of continued progression.
“I think it's important that we understand the importance of the game. It only means something if we build on last week,” said Kiss, following the Captain’s Run this afternoon.
“We just fronted them a bit better last week and it gave us a chance to be a bit more physical. If we get on top of these things it'll be a good game again.”
Carter has been ruled out of tomorrow’s match with a hamstring injury but Kiss has a high regard for his replacement Aaron Cruden, who has impressed the Australian with his performances in Super Rugby and at last year’s World Cup, when he was also filling in for Carter.
“Aaron will play with what he has around him, the physicality around him,” said Kiss. “When you look at what he has done with the Chiefs last year and when he came [to the World Cup] in on the late call-up he holds his head high and he did a fantastic job.
“We're looking forward to the Test. It's going to be a cracker and I'm sure he'll play his part.”