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Former All Black Gives A Rather Cocky Reason Why They're Happy To Avoid Ireland

Former All Black Gives A Rather Cocky Reason Why They're Happy To Avoid Ireland
Gary Reilly
By Gary Reilly
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We've already taken a look at the international media reaction to that heroic victory in Cardiff yesterday. However, one opinion piece emerging from New Zealand stuck out more than the rest.

Going in to yesterday, we were worried about the French threat. In hindsight maybe we were worried about the wrong thing. The French didn't really turn up as an attacking force and instead it was the physicality in defence of Saint-Andre's side that has taken it's toll on Ireland.

Despite the injuries, Ireland were extremely impressive in victory. As such, you may be thinking that the All Blacks are happy to facing the withered French outfit, and they are, but perhaps not for the reasons we may have thought. Writing in the New Zealand Herald in the aftermath of that win, former All Black Justin Marshall has shared his belief that facing France will be much better for the All Blacks hopes of lifting the Webb Ellis trophy.


However, that's not necessarily because Ireland would give the All Blacks a tougher game than the French will, instead it's because the prospect of facing Ireland wouldn't be enough of a motivation for Richie McCaw and his teammates.

They will get a performance out of the All Blacks that Ireland probably wouldn't have.

We're conscious of not sounding overly indignant here (we may be losing that battle) but there is quite a bit of cockiness between the lines of Marshall's comments.

Essentially he's saying that given their respective histories against the All Blacks, Ireland and France would illicit two very different mindsets from the world's best team, with a win over Ireland doing little for New Zealand going forward.


If we were playing Ireland I don't think that edge would be there. After all, they [have] never beaten the All Blacks.

After, in many respects, cruising through their pool, the All Blacks need this match to harden them up. They received a challenge from Argentina, but didn't need to lift themselves too high for Namibia and Georgia.

They did in the second half against Tonga in Newcastle and they will need to against the French. And that's how they can launch themselves to the final.

All well and good, there's nothing factually incorrect in any of that. But if New Zealand really wouldn't have been able to get their game together to face Ireland in the quarter finals then perhaps there is a bit of mental fragility there that we may be able to exploit should we, on the off chance, happen to meet them in the near future.

H/T: Elliot Sheerin

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