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Monday 11 December 2017

D'Arcy: Ireland must beat Kiwis at the breakdown

IRELAND will be looking to put in some crunching one-on-one tackles to try and slow the All Blacks' onslaught when they meet the world champions in the second match in their three-Test series in Christchurch tomorrow.

New Zealand took Ireland apart to win 42-10 at Eden Park last week, winning most of the battles at the breakdown to set up line breaks around the ruck and create mismatches in the backline.

Gordon D'Arcy returns to the Ireland team at inside centre in place of the injured Keith Earls, and faces the daunting task of dealing with the threat posed by his opposite number, Sonny Bill Williams.

"The breakdown is what rugby is about. There aren't too many tries from set phase anymore," said D'Arcy. "It's not about the first phase it's that fifth, sixth, seventh phase, that missed tackle, one-on-one and when they get in behind with three guys flooding through against the full-back.

"What we learned was that you can't put three guys into the tackle and breakdown, especially when you have guys like Sonny Bill who can make offloads when he's got two players on him. We just have to have that ruthlessness in one-on-one tackles to turn the tables a little bit."

D'Arcy said the team had worked hard on their approach to the breakdown, trying to ensure that only one tackler was involved and allowing the second player to try and slow down the ball.

"We know how to do it, we do it week in week out, but we just didn't give it justice (last week)," he said.

Three of the All Blacks' five tries in Auckland were the direct result of counter-attacks.

PRESSURE

Ireland defensive coach Les Kiss reiterated a comment made by captain Brian O'Driscoll yesterday that his side would need to put more pressure on their kick-chase.

"The counter-attack of New Zealand is fairly vicious," the Australian said. "The kick chase really needs to be up there. There needs to be an intensity that will take away their options ... and if we do that we will be able to negate the way they run back."

Kiss said the Irish had not done much "smashing each other on the paddock" this week, but instead had spoken about lifting their mental intensity.

"It's an attitudinal thing, it's an understanding thing. It's about being quicker, being ready," Kiss added. "You don't have a minute to wait until the next set piece between breaks, they get the game going quickly and it's implied upon us to be ready for that."

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