Irish eye chance to topple All Blacks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Irish eye chance to topple All Blacks

02/06/2008 03:16:31 PM Comments (0)

Ireland believe they have their best chance yet of finally beating New Zealand when they tackle their new-look side in Wellington on Saturday.

The closest the Irish have come to beating the All Blacks in 20 meetings dating back to 1905 was when they drew 10-10 in Dublin in 1973.

But Ireland's players think they have a real chance of ending the drought against a New Zealand team just starting to rebuild after last year's World Cup flop.

"There's a confidence and a belief within Irish players that if we play to our potential we certainly have a good chance," Ireland flanker Alan Quinlan told the NZPA after training on Monday.

"It's always a hard game and certainly the All Blacks will always be favourites when they play Ireland but we play every game to win and Saturday will be no different."

New Zealand, who were knocked out in the World Cup quarter-finals after going into the tournament as favourites, have included six uncapped players in their squad for this season.

Coach Graham Henry has also recalled four players who were not at the World Cup, giving the team a fresh look.

However, Ireland flanker David Wallace warned that while his team were quietly confident of springing an upset, they were under no illusions about the ability of the new players.

"It's a breeding ground for rugby players, they seem to always have a strong team because of their strength and depth," he said.

"It's always very difficult to beat them, of course we never have.

"The guys who've come in are probably just as good and probably hungrier, so I don't think it's going to be any less intimidating."

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