All Blacks out to avoid Lions repeat
This weekend, the All Blacks take on Ireland in the first mid-term decider the side have played since facing the British and Irish Lions in 2017.
In that series, New Zealand took a comfortable victory in the first Test, triumphing 30-15 at Eden Park, before suffering a surprise defeat in Wellington a week later, losing 24-21. In that second Test, Sonny Bill Williams was red carded for a dangerous 24th-minute tackle, forcing the All Blacks to take out a man for almost three quarters of the game. In the last game of the series, some controversial refereeing decisions in favor of the visitors ensured a draw and a draw.
The All Blacks’ current run with Ireland has followed a similar pattern, with New Zealand claiming a 42-19 victory in the first Test at Eden Park before tasting defeat in Dunedin after prop Angus Ta’avao received a red card for a dangerous tackle. Now the final game in Wellington will decide the series winner – and All Blacks full-back Jordie Barrett certainly doesn’t want to travel the same path he did in 2017 during his first series for the neo-national team. zeelandic.
“There are obvious comparisons but I don’t want to get too far ahead because hopefully we don’t pull this next test,” Barrett said on Thursday.
“I think in terms of what’s at stake, of course anyone can make their own comparisons and it’s do or die.”
Barrett, 25, made his Test debut in the Lions series opener but sat out the other two matches. Now, five years later, Barrett is a key member of the All Blacks backline and will make his third start as a fullback this weekend.
While Barrett and his teammates naturally wanted to ride through the streak unbeaten after being well and truly recognized by Ireland in Dublin late last year, the success of Andy Farrell’s side this weekend adds a little extra spice to the final game of the series.
“Obviously, we didn’t want this to go to a decision maker, but that’s the way it is,” Barrett said. “That’s where you want to be, especially as an All Black – a series decider, at home, against quality opposition. The game can’t come fast enough for me, personally.
While New Zealand managed to blast away their opposition at Eden Park with a slight change in tactics from their previous encounters, moving the larger attacking groups into attack, Ireland were able to effectively counter the change during the second test – and the All Blacks had no response. Now Barrett and his teammates are hoping to turn things around with the visitors.
“Ireland are a quality team and we spoke a week ago and the boys knew there would be a response from them so in some ways it’s our turn to respond now,” he said. said Barrett, “and we think it’s largely in our control as to how we can influence this game, so our preparation has been excellent.
“But that’s not all, we still have to put a performance on the park and get the job done because it’s not going to be easy.”
Barrett says that while it might have been difficult at first to turn around after last weekend’s defeat and get back up and running, the All Blacks are now well placed ahead of Saturday’s decider.
“At present [the mood] is good. We are immersed in a week of great preparation. There is no hiding that there was an obvious disappointment on Saturday evening, Sunday morning and even a leak until Monday.
“It’s a new week, an exciting opportunity, a comedic streak against a quality team. There are positive faces and positive moods in camp right now, so we’re getting ready to go.
Saturday’s clash is due to start at 7.05pm NZT at Sky Stadium in Wellington.
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