Can Ireland beat the All Blacks again? Here's the verdict from Brian O'Driscoll, Stephen Ferris and more

They were joined by Keith Wood, Zinzan Brooke and Isa Nacewa to preview Saturday's game

BY Raf Diallo 21:33 Thursday 17 November 2016, 21:33 17 Nov 2016

A view of the final score in Chicago ©INPHO/Photosport/Andrew Cornaga

On Saturday, the All Blacks will be looking for vengeance when they take on Ireland at Aviva Stadium two weeks after Joe Schmidt's side defeated them in a historic result in Chicago. 

New Zealand don't lose very often - and hadn't done so against Ireland before the Soldier Field clash - and will be eager to make amends as soon as possible.

But can Ireland make it two wins in a row against the world's best rugby outfit?

Brian O'Driscoll, Keith Wood, Isa Nacewa, Zinzan Brooke and Stephen Ferris were on hand to give an Irish and New Zealand perspective on the match during Off The Ball's RDS Roadshow. 

 Brian O'Driscoll

The former Ireland captain believes another win is possible but pointed to areas where the All Blacks will have improved in comparison to the last day.

"It'll be tougher. They look like they've got a better stacked team," he said, highlighting the second row of Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick in comparison to the game in Chicago.

"They do make them tick, particularly Retallick. Just his skill-set, he offers an awful lot more to their game-plan."

Head coach Steve Hansen ©INPHO/James Crombie

Stephen Ferris

The ex-Ireland and Ulster back-row feels the fact that already stepping out of the shadow of history in Chicago means the pressure is off the Irish side.

"Of course I'm worried. It's an unbelievable New Zealand outfit. But at the same time, myself included wrote Ireland off a couple of weeks ago and they went out and proved a point. They've finally got that monkey of their back and I think that's so important going into this game. They can relax and just go out there and attack New Zealand the way they did in Chicago," he said, adding the tries at Soldier Field gave him goosebumps.

"Hopefully it's not like 2012 when we ran them close and then got beat by 60 the next week. I don't think that's going to happen and I don't think Joe Schmidt will let that happen.

"But of course, the New Zealand team the way it is and the way it's stacked, of course you're going to be slightly worried."

 Zinzan Brooke

The All Blacks legend feels the pain felt by the current New Zealand team is a factor. 

"Do I think [Ireland beating us again] could happen? I think it can but it's just making sure," he said.

"I know when an All Blacks side is beaten, you hurt and the pain is really deep. You want to wake up on a Sunday and play the game that day to actually wipe it out.

"So I know how the All Blacks would be feeling right now. They'll be staying under the radar. They'll just want to slip in here and come in and do the business. But I can guarantee you that the Irish guys won't make it easy for them because Joe Schmidt's a very clever guy and he done amazing things with the Irish boys. But I think Hansen and co, it'll be a great match-up. I don't think you'll get a 40-29."   

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen congratulates Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt after the game ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

 Isa Nacewa

The New Zealand-born Leinster player feels Schmidt is likely to have a major influence again.

"You've got that monkey off the back and Joe's very good at getting guys grounded quickly and the fact that he rested a load of guys against Canada, the psychology's changed. I think Joe will be on point in what he's done this week with the Irish guys," he said.

 Keith Wood

The former Ireland captain pointed to the reduced composure shown by New Zealand at key points in the Chicago clash but feels the return of the aforementioned second row duo makes them stronger.

"I do think the two guys who come back into the second row play a huge role because they win line-out ball, they carry ball. They're also leaders and they've been around for a long time. They have a lot of caps between them." 

He believes Ireland have a "decent chance" but does not think New Zealand will concede as many penalties as they did at Soldier Field.

"I think it will be much closer and much more lower-scoring," he said. 


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