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Thursday 8 December 2016

Ferris fearing for Joe's greens

But not without hope... 'We're Irish we always have a chance'

Stephen Ferris
Stephen Ferris

To put a twist on an old joke. Ireland have two chances of beating New Zealand in Chicago.

Slim and none. And slim was shot in a gunfight in Texas. Stephen Ferris certainly can't see a way through this one for Ireland.

"Looking from the outside in, I just can't see Ireland winning this game," said the former Ireland flanker.

"Why? Because New Zealand are the best team in the world."

The enforced absence of Peter O'Mahony, Seán O'Brien, Tommy Bowe and Iain Henderson could be influential.

"Big leaders aren't going to be there and, when backs are against the wall, you need leaders to stand up."

It would not take a miracle for Ireland to complete their mission.

It just swims against the tide of all evidence, reason and logic. "We're Irish we always have a chance," said Ferris.

"Any team always has a chance of winning. But, what is it 18 on the bounce?

"Do I think it's going to be 19? Yes, I do think it's going to be 19.

"If you ask anyone, everyone's going to say New Zealand as well."

Amassed

The All Blacks have amassed record points totals over the course of their 18 international wins.

They won't plan to stop doing what they are doing any time soon.

"New Zealand are just a well-oiled machine and you give them an opportunity and they'll take it," he said.

"I just think they're playing great rugby at the minute.

"Going to Durban and putting a cricket score on South Africa is very hard to do."

The way New Zealand have moved forward from a slew of retirements by legends of the game proves their resources are deep and wide.

"It's just quality, one guy gets injured, one guy retires and another comes in. It's just like a conveyor belt of exceptional talent," he said.

This is where Schmidt is looking to deepen the pool of players with international experience and coping skills.

There is no better environment for Tadhg Furlong and Garry Ringrose to find out all about themselves.

"It's very difficult (for Ireland)," stated Ferris.

"We've seen it in the World Cup. Johnny Sexton's not there, Seán O'Brien isn't there, Peter O'Mahony isn't there and Paul O'Connell isn't there

"You take four of the leaders out of the team and, bang, the team doesn't function."

The Paddy Jackson issue is probably a non-issue in Chicago.

"If I was in the Ireland team across there you'd be fully focussed on the match.

"That's me being selfish. That's professional rugby.," said Ferris.

"I'd say the issue has been fully addressed by Joe and the management and there has been a line drawn under it."

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