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Hugh Farrelly: Kiwi papers pour scorn on Kidney's men

THE New Zealand reaction to Ireland's performance in the first Test was a combination of disappointment, pity and scorn.

'Irish Future Looks All Black' was the somewhat predictable headline on the front of yesterday's 'New Zealand Herald' sports section, with a continuation on the theme inside beneath the banner 'Hapless Irish Ripe for Crushing'.

Ordinarily in this situation, the Irish are tossed the condescending compliment of being 'plucky'. But even that was withheld after their 42-10 stuffing, although there was widespread approval for the performance of Sean O'Brien, with journalist Chris Rattue claiming that the flanker "was so committed and involved in defence and in carting it up that he deserved a mention in any Man of the Match considerations".

Others fared far worse, including Conor Murray, who prevented a certain try from Sam Whitelock but had his performance dismissed as "nothing ventured or gained", while the local take on Dan Tuohy was "hard to remember him at all".

There is little prospect of Ireland's injury-ravaged squad receiving any clemency in Christchurch, either, with the All Blacks determined to produce a big display to mark Test rugby's return to the city for the first time since last year's earthquake.

There may, however, be a sliver of hope in the forecast for Saturday, with wet and windy weather set to take over from last week's heavy snow in the southern capital.

There was a stark difference between Australia's winning performance in dry conditions against Wales and their soggy defeat to Scotland in a monsoon four days earlier, and even the All Blacks would struggle to produce flashy rugby in the middle of a deluge. Rain-dance time.

Irish Independent