Mark Baker Joe Moody at a press conference in Tokyo.

Moody: 'We sort of owe Ireland one'

New Zealand prop Joe Moody says the All Blacks are keen to set the record straight against Ireland this weekend.

DESPITE BEING A veteran of over 40 games in the black jersey, Joe Moody’s record against Ireland is as about as poor as it gets for an All Black. So far, it’s played two, won one. 

He was sin-binned for a tip tackle on Robbie Henshaw when Ireland made history in Chicago, and played 48 minutes as New Zealand exacted their revenge in Dublin two weeks later.

There are plenty of match-ups to get excited about this weekend, but the scrum battle between Joe Moody and Tadhg Furlong is right up there, and the Crusaders prop is one of many New Zealand players eager to see the record straight against Ireland.

“Yeah, should be good. We’ve played each other a few times so I guess we know what each other are up to. It will be a good old battle,” said Moody, who is set to win his 44th cap for the All Blacks.

“Internationally he’s got to be right up there as one of the best, I think, so I’ve got a lot of respect for him. Come Saturday night, she’s all go.

“He’s a strong man, he sets well, and then when he gets in a good position, he’s pretty hard to move so I guess that’s what you need in a tighthead, to anchor down your scrum.”

Respect is a word that New Zealand have thrown around more and more frequently when it comes to Ireland over the past few years. Before Chicago, there were generations of New Zealand supporters who had never seen their team lose to an Ireland side – It’s only six years since Ireland were on the receiving end of a 60-0 thrashing by the All Blacks in Hamilton.

Yet under the guidance of Joe Schmidt that has all changed, and the All Blacks head into this weekend’s quarter-final fully aware of the threat posed by this Ireland team, even if Schmidt’s team are coming into the game on the back of an underwhelming pool campaign.

This of course is an Ireland team that have won two of their last three games against the All Blacks.

“I suppose a little bit in the back of your mind, it just reminds you that we sort of owe them one,” Moody said.

“At the same time, it’s not something we dwell on or focus on. Yeah, they have got a couple up on us in recent history but at the same time, it wouldn’t matter who you’re playing this week, we have to win.”

In anticipation of the challenge that lies ahead, Moody admitted New Zealand have put extra focus into working on their discipline, given the spate of red cards we have already seen across the pool stages in Japan.

“The discipline side of things is definitely something that we’ve been working on in all aspects of our game, especially what we’ve seen in the last couple of games on defence and that.

“We know you just can’t afford to go anywhere near the head with tackles, it’s very black and white, so stay away from the head.”

All Blacks openside Matt Todd added that they will also put emphasis on restricting Johnny Sexton’s time on the ball.

“You want to put any play-maker under pressure. It’s easier said than done,” Todd said.

“That’s certainly our plan. We want to take away his time, take away his space and make it as hard as I can for him because he’s such a key player for them.”

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