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Wednesday 19 December 2018

Twickenham errors won't be repeated

Ian Foster
Ian Foster

Ireland have been able to mount a serious challenge in two of three of Joe Schmidt's internationals against New Zealand.

They came oh-so-close in 2013, losing a lead in injury-time, and won in 2016 because they got ahead, almost staying there the first time and managing to do so the second time around.

The fact the All Blacks fell 15 points behind England at Twickenham on Saturday will have sharpened their mental faculties for not finding themselves in the same unpleasant place in Dublin.

If there is one thing that rings true for New Zealand, it is that they don't repeat the same mistake twice, at least not from week-to-week.

They were able to rebound for a one-point victory last weekend, but it was in the balance all the way to the end.

"We're fully aware going into this week that we'd prefer not to do it that way," said their assistant Ian Foster, the man best placed to succeed Steve Hansen after the 2019 World Cup.

You could be forgiven for surmising this will have an impact on what happens for Japan.

At least, it could for Ireland as beating New Zealand would further erode the aura around the men from the south.

It would be another brick in the wall.

"They're (Ireland) no different to anyone else.

"We're all trying to build towards something in 12 months' time."

The template for tackling Ireland is a simple one, stop them on the gain line.

There are none more committed, or able, when it comes to a physical battle, than Hansen's warriors.

They have made a habit of silencing hostile South African crowds.

The All Blacks will not play the waiting game.

They will plan to take the fight to Ireland where it matters most, up front

"Really, it's (Ireland's game) based around some core foundation. They've got a tough working forward pack.

"They work hard on their set-piece delivery and work hard on their collision areas."

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