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Saturday 20 January 2018

All Black star sure we'll kick our crisis into touch

Jason O'Brien

AT LEAST Ma'a Nonu is upbeat about our future.

The 18-stone All Black centre -- whose penchant for streaked dreadlocks and women's eyeliner is entirely his own business -- was speaking in Dublin yesterday head of Ireland's clash with New Zealand at Lansdowne Road which is almost a sellout.

"I saw it on the news last night," the 28-year-old said of the IMF's wrecking ball.

"You know, I'm not that bright as a person and I don't have good brains but I know a little about figures and hopefully the country can overcome it.

"If you look at that beautiful new stadium it makes you think. New Zealand has been through the recession before and I think this country will pull through it, but I guess that's life."

Teammate Joe Rocokoko was focusing instead on sport, any sport.

The winger was given the almost-obligatory 'prop' for foreign sports stars during a photoshoot for Brent Pope's new children's book 'Bones' in aid of the Irish Osteoporosis Society.

The only thing more frightening than an All Black coming at you is presumably an All Black with a hurley coming at you.

"We came on Sunday and there was a game on Sunday afternoon," he said.

"It was quite full-on really. It's quite skilful and physical as well.

"And I was talking to one of the locals who said it would never go professional, so that's interesting too."

But he turned up the heat a little when returning to his own sport.

"Once (Brian) O'Driscoll starts getting a bit of space and a bit of momentum, the whole team just lifts," he said referring to the Irish side. "I hate to say it, but once you shut down that one person in the Irish team, the whole team shuts down, momentum-wise and confidence-wise."

The Irish team will, of course, have to face down the famous Haka this evening, with shoppers on Grafton Street yesterday getting an eyeful from the Ngati Ranana Maori cultural group as they performed a "mass Haka".

Eight-page big-match special: Sport

Irish Independent

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