As it happened: Ireland v New Zealand, First Test
by Einne O’Reilly
The Ireland rugby team will face New Zealand in Christchurch on Saturday hoping to improve on their performance from last week’s 42-10 defeat. Coach Declan Kidney has made four changes to the starting line up from last Saturday’s game in Auckland. The Ireland coach has gone with a more experienced backline by including Andrew Trimble on the wing and Gordon Darcy in the centre. Leinster centre Darcy is recalled after an injury to Keith Earls last Saturday while Trimble takes the place of Simon Zebo on the left wing. Two changes to the forward pack include the return of Mike Ross at tight head while Kevin McLaughlin is included at blindside flanker.
After last Saturdays heavy defeat to the All Blacks, coach Declan Kidney has expressed his hope that Ireland will learn from their mistakes for Saturday’s match. Certainly, the Ireland team learned that those mistakes are costly against the All Blacks, who punished Ireland with lethal potency last week. Captain Brian O’Driscoll has expressed his confidence that Ireland will be up for the game and determined to make amends for last week. He said “Every time you pull on a Test jersey, irrespective of the occasion, it is special. This is no different”. He added “We are not playing for second best.” Saturday’s game will be the first time New Zealand have played in Christchurch since last year’s earthquake destroyed much of the city. The game will be played at the newly built ATM Stadium. New Zealand are expected to get stronger as each game goes on and with that in mind, Ireland will need to perform to their absolute best to have any chance of being competitive.
Ireland team V New Zealand, Saturday 16th June: 15. Rob Kearney, 14. Fergus McFadden, 13. Brian O’Driscoll(Captain), 12. Gordon Darcy, 11. Andrew Trimble, 10. Jonny Sexton, 9. Connor Murray; 1. Cian Healy, 2. Rory Best, 3. Mike Ross, 4. Dan Tuohy, 5. Donncha Ryan, 6. Kevin McLaughlin, 7. Sean O’Brien, 8. Jamie Heaslip.
Substitutes: 16. Sean Cronin, 17. Declan Fitzpatrick 18. Donncha O’Callaghan, 19. Peter O’Mahoney, 20. Eoin Reddan, 21. Ronan O’Gara, 22. Simon Zebo.
Odds: (Paddy Power) New Zealand 1/40, Ireland 12/1, Draw 50/1.