Sport Rugby

Thursday 21 September 2017

Smal wants Ireland to 'get angry' and face up to Kiwis

Ireland forwards coach Gert Smal speaking to the media during a squad press conference ahead of their Steinlager Series. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland forwards coach Gert Smal speaking to the media during a squad press conference ahead of their Steinlager Series. Photo: Sportsfile

Hugh Farrelly in Auckland

IRELAND need to "get angry" to face up to the All Blacks and get their tour back on track in Christchurch this weekend following their 42-10 hammering at Eden Park last Saturday.

Declan Kidney's squad have been widely dismissed in the New Zealand media heading into the second Test, and forwards coach Gert Smal said it has created a massive sense of frustration and anger in the squad as they seek a better performance on Saturday.

"There is a fair amount of that (anger)," said the South African yesterday. "The guys are very disappointed with the way they played. The turnovers that we gave, we can't afford that against this quality side, kicking the ball away -- it is about how you play the game tactically in their half, to give yourself a best chance to score tries.

"It's not a case that we don't have it. I think we have got it.

"We always try to see how, as a small team, you have to be more technically and tactically aware to see how you can outwit your opposition in some way and the Irish are very good at that.

"One thing I like about the Irish is they've got a lot grunt and they won't stand back for big guys. They have a huge amount of confidence in their abilities -- it's just this one is a notch up and they realise that now.

"Last Saturday showed the massive difference between provincial rugby and international rugby. It's 15 to 20pc higher."

Smal said he expects props Cian Healy, Mike Ross and Declan Fitzpatrick to all be available for selection and, while a number of players sat out training yesterday, the only one definitely ruled out of Saturday's Test is centre Keith Earls.

Connacht full-back Gavin Duffy joined up with the squad yesterday ahead of today's transfer to Christchurch to prepare for the first international in the city since last year's earthquake.

The Irish party will pay a visit to the city's red zone soon after their arrival to witness first-hand the devastation wrought by last year's earthquake and learn about how the city is getting back on its feet.

There were reports of an aftershock measuring 4.2 in Christchurch on Monday night, but New Zealand coach Steve Hansen, set to name Adam Thomson at flanker for the injured Victor Vito, was unconcerned, saying the tremors did not even interrupt his sleep.

Irish Independent

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