Saturday 17 March 2018

WATCH: 'New Zealand showed arrogance and a lack of respect' - Luke Fitzgerald

Luke Fitzgerald is expecting a big improvement from New Zealand this weekend
Luke Fitzgerald is expecting a big improvement from New Zealand this weekend Newsdesk Newsdesk

Luke Fitzgerald believes Steve Hansen's New Zealand were punished in Chicago 11 days ago for not showing Ireland enough respect, but will be a different proposition this Saturday at the Aviva.

The former Leinster and Ireland star is confident that Joe Schmidt's men can replicate the level of performance reached at Soldier Field but expects a backlash from the Kiwis.

Hansen selected Jerome Kaino in the second row, started Goerge Moala ahead of Malakai Fekitoa and went with the relatively inexperienced Waisake Naholo on the wing in Illinois and Fitzgerald believes those calls came back to bite him.

"Do I think we can beat New Zealand again? I absolutely do," he said.

"It's a really uphill task, they'll be really hurting after that (the defeat in Chicago).

"I think they'll be really, really pumped up for this one. I'd say they'll do a little bit more research behind the scenes on us . I'd say they were a little bit under-cooked in that department and from my own perspective, some of the selection mistakes that they made, they won't make them again.

"I think they showed a little bit of arrogance there and lack of respect with some of their selections."

In Fitzgerald's opinion, Ireland won't adapt their playing style radically for Saturday's rematch.

"From an Irish perspective, there are loads of things we can do. The things we did well, we can definitely do again," he added

"Things that we're good at like competing for the ball in the air, we've got th GAA background so we're usually very good in that area.

"The line speed, I'm sure Andy Farrell was impressed with how the lads performed for him in that respect. That's something we can definitely do again.

"I think the pressure we got on all around the park, the desire we showed... I think in front of a packed Aviva Stadium we an definitely do that again.

"So, I think it's just a matter of producing those things again.

"There was nothing too complex in it which makes me really excited about the upcoming game."

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