Ireland seek first win over All Blacks in 105 years

IN 15 months' time, Ireland will kick-off their World Cup campaign against the United States at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth – the venue of today's Test against New Zealand. However, coach Declan Kidney is refusing to look that far ahead, preferring to focus his full attention on the opening match of his side's tour of Australasia.

Kidney said: "These matches are one-off Tests. You just have to take them for what they are. Any time you play the No1 team in the world you just focus and try and enjoy it because this is the reason you get into sport."

Privately the Irish know a win will be a monumental boost to confidence heading into next year and there will be no keener spectators of the 2009 Grand Slam champions' performance than Wales and England, who finished behind Brian O'Driscoll's men in this year's Six Nations. The Welsh are also in New Zealand while England take on Australia today.

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Kidney, though, said: "We can only be responsible for ourselves," he said. "We know we have a responsibility to the jersey and we need to go out and play to the best of our ability. You don't get chance to play in matches likes this too often. You just want to relish it and enjoy it and that's what we hope to do."

He's also hoping for a win to end the 105 years of hurt the Irish have suffered at the hands of New Zealand. "It's got to happen sometime," he said.

And New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw said: "History means nothing on the field. No game I've had against Ireland has been easy at all."

New Zealand: I Dagg; C Jane, C Smith, B Stanley, J Rokocoko; D Carter, J Cowan; B Franks, K Mealamu, O Franks, B Thorn, A Boric, J Kaino, R McCaw (capt), K Read. Replacements: A de Malmanche, N Tialata, S Whitelock, V Vito, P Weepu, A Cruden, Z Guildford.

Ireland: R Kearney; T Bowe, B O'Driscoll (capt), G D'Arcy, A Trimble; R O'Gara, T O'Leary; C Healy, S Cronin, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, M O'Driscoll, J Muldoon, D Wallace, J Heaslip. Replacements: J Fogarty, T Buckley, D Tuohy, S Jennings, E Reddan, J Sexton, G Murphy.