Sunday 25 February 2018

Hore calls for Kiwi backlash after 'getting away with it'

Hugh Farrelly

VETERAN hooker Andrew Hore believes the All Blacks let themselves down last weekend against Ireland but are heading into Saturday's third Test in Hamilton with a lot of confidence having escaped from Christchurch with a 22-19 victory.

Hore was part of a New Zealand scrum that was gradually overwhelmed by the Irish and says it has focused minds ahead of a match which, although New Zealand have already won the series with two victories after their 42-10 romp at Eden Park in the first Test, he says feels like a decider.

"I think it just shows you that attitude is the thing out there that we were lacking," said Hore, when questioned about the scrum yesterday.

"We were pretty switched on (in the scrums) at the start and then switched off a little bit, and you get bitten if you do that.

"You've just got to make sure that every time you do things, you've got to be 100pc right in the head because in international footy everyone's going to come after you.

"We learned that lesson almost the hard way but we got away with it. You grow confidence from that.

attitude

"If you're in the game in the last 20 minutes it's easy to dig deep, so we let them do that. We've got to make sure we get our attitude sorted out and get out there and put in a performance we can be proud of.

"The Irish boys set a standard and have laid down a pretty good challenge, so we've got to get out there knowing you've got to play at your best if you want to beat these guys, and hopefully we can do that and get things back on track.

"It's one of those good things about sport that you're only a week between games and you can right the wrongs."

Coach Steve Hansen had suggested he would use the third Test to look at some emerging players, but Ireland's performance may have altered that approach and it is expected that experimentation will be kept to a minimum.

Hansen has not ruled out No 8 Kieran Read but said yesterday that he is the main concern after taking a heavy blow to the head, while reserve second-row Ali Williams is out for at least eight weeks with a knee injury.

"Read will be a day-by-day prospect," said Hansen. "We'll keep monitoring him, and if he's not right we won't play him."

If Read were unavailable, it is expected that captain Richie McCaw would switch to the middle of the back-row with Sam Cane starting at openside, while Luke Romano should come onto the bench for Williams.

Hooker Keven Mealamu is also in contention and has replaced Hika Elliot in the squad.

Irish Independent

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