DUBLIN – New Zealand coach Steve Hansen expects “a trick or two” from Ireland in their November Test in Dublin on Saturday, suggesting all of the world champions’ opponents find a way to improve their game against the All Blacks.
The eagerly-anticipated clash at the Aviva Stadium pits the top two teams in the world against one another, with no less of an intriguing sideshow the battle between Hansen and Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, tipped as his possible successor when he leaves his post at the end of the next World Cup.
Hansen said earlier in the week that the winner of this match could call themselves the best team in the world, and he expects Six Nations champions Ireland’s eagerness to claim a first ever victory over New Zealand in Dublin to translate into an intense battle on the pitch.
“You’ve got to admire what they’re doing. They hang on to the ball for long periods of time, they’re probably the team in World Rugby that hang on to the ball the most,” Hansen told reporters on Thursday.
“When they don’t get what they want with that, they’ll take to the air and they’ve got a good kicking game. You’ve got to admire all of that, it’s winning and they’ll punish you.