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'Ireland must take every scoring opportunity they get to beat the All Blacks' - Erasmus

The Munster director of rugby knows Steve Hansen’s side better than most.

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.
Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

MUNSTER COACH RASSIE Erasmus says that Ireland’s big-game players must take every scoring opportunity that comes their way against New Zealand to have any hope of victory in Chicago.

It’s just over a year since Erasmus’ South African side lost 20-18 to the All Blacks at the last Rugby World Cup – the seventh game in their 18-game unbeaten run – and he is convinced you cannot let scoring chances slip against Steve Hansen’s side.

Erasmus was the Springboks’ high performance manager back then, but the Munster boss recalls how few chances the world champions present in big Test matches.

“The moment you are out of the match against them they punish you. Take your opportunities,” said Erasmus.

“You don’t get 15 or 16 opportunities which you get against other international sides maybe to score points: you only get four or five. I think if you take those you are in the mix.

“We came within two points at the World Cup last year. After the first game losing to Japan and then we lost by two points, but we came really close.

“The thing about them in my opinion is apart from having great structures and their fundamentals of their kicking game and all these things, when the big moment is there they just take it every time.

“I guess if you want to match that, when your few big moments come in the game…in a Test match against New Zealand you never get more than four or five opportunities, it’s either three or five points that you must take.

“They defend so well they put so much pressure on you, but I think the big-name players and the big-moment players, they will get the four or five opportunities and if you get points from that you are in with a chance.”

Munster back rower Peter O'Mahony Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

One man who didn’t make the trip to America is Peter O’Mahony, and Erasmus says he will definitely play against Ospreys this Friday in Cork — providing he is fully released from Ireland duties.

“If he is available and he is fit, but we haven’t seen him since. We’ll only see him tomorrow, but if he is available we’ll definitely select him, I know that.”

Meanwhile, it looks unlikely that Munster will be able to retain the services of Jaco Taute after his four-month contract with the province expires.

Erasmus confirmed that the South African centre — who has scored tries in three successive games — has a contract with the Stormers and he is scheduled to return home in the New Year.

“Yes, he is still with the Stormers, yeah. He must go back,” said Erasmus. “We’ll have to see. There is a lot of things that must happen like, before he came there was a lot of things we had to sort out.

“Obviously we had to speak to the IRFU and Francis [Saili] is still coming back more or less the same time.

“The deal was only until the end of December and at this stage when Francis comes back Jaco will move back to South Africa.

“So let’s see what happens in the next two months, you never know, you might get injuries which you didn’t expect or somebody may take longer to heal or something like that.

“We are going to take it two weeks by two weeks before we actually look into that. Let him just play well and keep on playing well.”

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