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Sunday 17 November 2019

Surprise is lost: Joe

Ireland's recent success means we have belief we can beat All Blacks - Schmidt

Jacob Stockdale scores a try in Ireland’s victory over New Zealand in November 2018
Jacob Stockdale scores a try in Ireland’s victory over New Zealand in November 2018

Joe Schmidt says Ireland have lost the element of surprise against New Zealand.

Having guided his team to a historic first victory over the world champions in 2016 and followed it up with another win in 2018, the head coach has ensured his side have the All Blacks' full attention ahead of Saturday's World Cup quarter-final.

"We're certainly not going to sneak up on them any more, we're not going to surprise them," he said after naming his team in Tokyo.

"I think they are well aware of how we play and what they are going to do to combat that, and what they are going to put into their own armoury to make sure that we are chasing them about.

"I wouldn't be a great believer in that you learn more from your losses, you learn more from every experience.

Variables

"There are so many variables that go into a result in a Test match that I learn from every win, loss or draw that we have, just because you get that little bit more information about an individual player, or how this sequence works or how that defensive map went at that particular time.

"So I've got huge respect for Steve Hansen, Ian Foster, the full coaching staff.

"Mike Crohn (scrum coach) has been there a long time, seen a lot of big games, he's creative around the lineout as well as the scrum and how to manipulate opponents.

"So there's a host of challenges for us. Scott MacLeod (New Zealand's defence coach) spent three days in our camp many moons ago, so he'll be very aware of how we function, and he's now looking at how they are going to function against us.

"Those are the tight circles rugby works in, everybody knows everybody else pretty well, and so I've no doubt they've got a few things cooked up that we haven't seen before that we're going to find really challenging."

Every member of Schmidt's starting XV has previously beaten New Zealand and he hopes they can draw on that experience.

Warned

But he warned once again that even Ireland's best might not be enough to end Hansen's side's reign as world champions.

"The unfortunate thing about any 23 that comes up against the All Blacks is that they can play very well and still not get the result. That's the quality that the All Blacks have, that's the athletes that they possess," he said.

"But one of the things is that they have connected up very well, that they have had some pretty successful experiences together. There's a number of players that have contributed to a fair bit of history for us.

"Obviously, the first win over the All Blacks, the first time we won at home to the All Blacks, but a few other milestones along the way. A lot of those players that are selected were in Australia last summer, were in South Africa the summer before when we won in Cape Town.

"So the accumulation of those experiences builds a bit of confidence. You can't go out against an All Blacks side and accept that you're second fiddle. You've got to go out and put your best foot forward and we hope that this 23 will be committed to doing that."

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