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Dublin: 8°C Monday 12 April 2021

'They’re disappointed they didn’t win and that’s a great thing for Irish rugby'

‘There is an expectation within them that they should be winning Test matches.’

NEW ZEALAND HEAD coach Steve Hansen has praised Ireland’s efforts over the course of their two November Tests against his side.

Joe Schmidt’s men recorded the first-ever Irish senior men’s victory over the All Blacks in Chicago two weekends ago, and pushed the best team in the world hard again in Dublin on Saturday.

Jamie Heaslip speaks to his team after the game Jamie Heaslip speaks to his team-mates after their defeat. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The aggregate scoreline from the mini-series is 50-49 in New Zealand’s favour, underlining how close Ireland have come to Hansen’s side over the course of the two Tests.

While Hansen was short with his answers to questions about his team’s discipline in the win in Dublin, he did offer praise to Ireland at the post-match press conference.

“It was pretty tough in 2013,” said Hansen. “I think they probably should have won that game. We stole it really, rather than won it.

The one thing now is that there is an expectation within them that they should be winning Test matches and I think that comes from simply that – winning Test matches.

“They won in Chicago. I thought they could go one or two ways. They could get excited by that and let their feet come off the floor or they could really dig in and get the resolve to do it again.

“I think we saw out there tonight and they dug in and got the resolve. They’re disappointed that they didn’t win today and I think that’s a great thing for Irish rugby.

“I think there is a willingness and a desire to be better all the time when you listen to them talking when they do their media or when they’re in the paper.

The haka before the game 19/11//2016 Ireland face the haka. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“That’s a sign of a good team that is going places. So I think if they play with the same character that they played with against us, I think they’ll just get better, better and better and they’ll be harder and harder to beat.”

Pressed on the performance of the referee, Jaco Peyper, Hansen stressed that he will need to review the game before making any statement.

The All Blacks gave away 14 penalties to Ireland’s four this evening, also having Malakai Fekitoa and Aaron Smith sin binned.

Without seeing the tapes, I can’t say that all the penalties are right or wrong but the ref said they were,” said Hansen.

“He’s seen us make 14 mistakes. The yellow cards – one was for coming around and attacking the half back, again I can’t argue with it but what I would say though is that I would like to see some consistency throughout the same game, because I saw the same things happening to us and no one got penalised, let alone yellow carded.

“The other yellow card for the high tackle was clumsy. I don’t think it was malicious. It didn’t impede him, he carried on playing. In fact, it didn’t even stop him. You just want consistency and when we look at the tape, we’ll see how consistent it was.”

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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