Ireland vow to up the pace in bid to keep New Zealand series alive
Kevin McLaughlin has vowed Ireland will have a “good go” at New Zealand in this morning’s second Test after admitting they struggled with the All Blacks’ pace last weekend.
Ireland were blown away 42-10 in Auckland in the series opener but McLaughlin has revealed morale within the squad remains good and predicts the tourists will make a better fist of things in Christchurch. The Leinster flanker, who will make his first international start in two years at the AMI Stadium, said: “There was definitely an element there of the lads having to step up to the speed of the game. Super Rugby is a lot different to the RaboDirect – it is a lot faster.
“The Kiwis just ran from everywhere, especially when we kicked loosely a couple of times. We just need to be a lot tighter defensively and up to the pace of the game. We know the level we have to be at now to compete. Training this week has been really sharp, we are in a really good position to go out and have a good go at them.”
McLaughlin returned from an ankle injury to play a key role in Leinster’s Heineken Cup success over Ulster and the 27-year-old believes having several club-mates alongside him will benefit Ireland this weekend. “I was happy with how the Heineken Cup Final went,” said McLaughlin. “Seanie (O’Brien) played unbelievably and I felt that I did my job. It is brilliant having some familiar faces in the back row. It means that I can just go out there and play my own game.”
He added: “Peter (O’Mahony) went well last week but myself, Sean and Jamie (Heaslip) play together week-in, week-out and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That is an obvious advantage for me, coming into the side.”
McLaughlin’s view, however, was only partially shared by Leinster’s Gordon D’Arcy, who returns to the side tomorrow in place of the injured Keith Earls and will partner captain Brian O’Driscoll for the 48th time in midfield. “The familiarity helps a bit,” he said, “and you develop a certain rapport with them. However, we’re not playing for Leinster, we’re playing for Ireland. It’s a whole new set of rules and a new level of intensity.”
New Zealand: I Dagg; Z Guildford, C Smith, S B Williams, J Savea; D Carter, A Smith; T Woodcock, A Hore, O Franks, B Retallick, S Whitelock, A Thomson, R McCaw (capt), K Read. Subs: H Elliot, B Franks, A Williams, S Cane, P Weepu, A Cruden, B Smith.
Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); F McFadden (Leinster), B O’Driscoll (Leinster, capt), G D’Arcy (Leinster), A Trimble (Ulster); J Sexton (Leinster), C Murray (Munster); C Healy (Leinster), R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Leinster), D Tuohy (Ulster), D Ryan (Munster), K McLaughlin (Leinster), S O’Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster). Subs: S Cronin (Leinster), D Fitzpatrick (Ulster), D O’Callaghan (Munster), P O’Mahony (Munster), E Reddan (Leinster), R O’Gara (Munster), S Zebo (Munster).
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west