Sport Rugby

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Kidney: All Blacks will be just as dangerous without talisman Carter

Ireland coach Declan Kidney. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland coach Declan Kidney. Photo: Getty Images

Hugh Farrelly in Queenstown

THE All Blacks have suffered a major blow ahead of Saturday's third Test in Hamilton but Ireland coach Declan Kidney has no doubt the world champions will be able to cope without their inspirational out-half Dan Carter.

It was Carter's winning drop-goal that sealed last weekend's 22-19 victory in Christchurch, but the All Blacks were without their star No 10 -- who has been sidelined for Saturday's clash with a hamstring injury -- when they landed the World Cup last year and Kidney fully expects them to adapt to the loss in Hamilton with local boy Aaron Cruden stepping in.

"We learned after the first Test that it was just a matter of getting ourselves right," he said. "It really doesn't matter which lads they threw out against us because we knew they'd be well up for it. These changes, too, will give them a huge impetus in the whole thing.

"It will be such a huge occasion that it will give them a great lift and momentum in terms of bringing lads in and giving them a go. It is their out-half's (Cruden) home ground so that will obviously get the crowd well in behind them."

New Zealand have made a raft of changes, bringing in Hosea Gear and Ben Smith onto the wings, Luke Romano into the second-row and Liam Messam and Sam Cane into the back-row, where captain Richie McCaw switches to No 8 for the injured Kieran Read.

Ireland have brought Keith Earls back onto the left wing and start Paddy Wallace at 12 and Peter O'Mahony at No 8 after Gordon D'Arcy and Jamie Heaslip were injured last weekend.

It is the final game of a season that began 12 months ago and Kidney said it is crucial Ireland develop some consistency with another big display this weekend rather than have to rely on one-off performance when their backs are to the wall.

"There's no point in doing it once. Nobody goes to an inconsistent doctor," he said.

"It will take a mighty effort, but I believe we'll be the better for our experience on Saturday.

"You can't buy that. It will be brutal and we will get what we'll earn on Saturday. That's the opportunity that Saturday presents. You either shy away from that or you accept it."

IRELAND -- R Kearney; F McFadden, B O'Driscoll (capt), P Wallace, K Earls; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D Tuohy, D Ryan; K McLaughlin, S O'Brien, P O'Mahony. Reps: S Cronin, D Fitzpatrick, D O'Callaghan, C Henry, E Reddan, R O'Gara, A Trimble

NEW ZEALAND -- I Dagg; B Smith, C Smith, SB Williams, H Gear; A Cruden, A Smith; T Woodcock, A Hore, O Franks; L Romano, S Whitelock; L Messam, S Cane, R McCaw. Reps: K Mealamu, B Franks, B Retallick, A Thomson, P Weepu, B Barrett, T Ellison.

Irish Independent

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