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All Blacks ready to transfer Ireland pain to Italy

Italy’s Irish coach, Conor O’Shea, will have enjoyed his country’s 40-29 win in Chicago.

Ireland's Rob Kearney, centre, signals as his team scores against New Zealand.
Ireland's Rob Kearney, centre, signals as his team scores against New Zealand.

WHO WOULD WANT to be in Italy’s boots?

The All Blacks touched down in Rome Monday still smarting from the sting of their historic defeat by Ireland and vowing to make things right again at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

Italy’s Irish coach, Conor O’Shea, will have enjoyed his country’s 40-29 win in Chicago, an unprecedented triumph that also brought New Zealand’s winning streak to a halt at a record of 18 international matches.

The former Harlequins boss would be foolhardy however not to expect a backlash in what will be his first home match since he took charge of Italy in June.

The All Blacks have been gracious in the aftermath of Saturday’s defeat at Soldier’s Field, but the experience of conceding five tries is not one they have been able to absorb lightly after such a prolonged period of dominance.

“It definitely hurts,” said Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett, who sat out Saturday’s defeat but is expected to feature against Italy as Steve Hansen’s squad warm up for a return match with Ireland in Dublin and the final leg of their November tour in France.

“The boys were pretty gutted to lose that game. If you weren’t feeling like that it would be a pretty scary thing for New Zealand rugby.

“As an All Black you do not want to get blase about losing so definitely the mood in the sheds after the game was pretty quiet, I guess gutted.

“But you have to move on quickly and start thinking about the next week. You go through that then you get up in the morning and get back to work and start thinking about the next one. You can’t afford to hang your lip on the ground for too long.”

Fellow prop Charlie Faumuina acknowledged that Ireland had deserved their breakthrough win, the first in over a century of meetings between the two countries.

“As the coach said before, credit to the Ireland boys, they really brought it to us, especially up front – something we really pride ourselves on,” he said.

“But we are looking forward to this week against Italy and making sure we do ourselves right again.

“There are things we are going to learn and have been reminded about. Everything starts up front and I guess those guys played the whole 80 minutes and we were a bit behind the 8-ball. We will learn from that and put that forward to Italy.”

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