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Not this time for Ireland - Fitzpatrick

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    18 Oct 2016     Getty Images

The former hooker, who holds an Irish passport, told the42.ie that he always kept a close eye on the Ireland rugby scene.

"The two countries like each other whether that's in sport or general life," he said.

"There's that connection there which goes a long way back to the Munster game in 1978 [when the All Blacks were beaten] and we've never lost to Ireland which is quite nice."

The two countries are playing two Tests within a fortnight, the first in Chicago and the second in Dublin.

But Fitzpatrick believes Ireland have the job ahead of them if they are to get their first win.

"Of course they've got a chance, they've always got a chance," he said. "I've played against Ireland many times and you go into games thinking they've got no chance and they give you a scare.

"The All Blacks are always very respectful of Ireland and the thing that will give the Irish a bit of hope is that they always take the game to the All Blacks and the teams that are going to beat them are the teams that are going to take them on physically and the Irish are capable of doing that," Fitzpatrick said.

There had been the close call of 2013 when Ireland led 19-0 after 20 minutes and then Jonny Sexton missed a kick that could have closed the game out.

"But at the moment, for me, the All Blacks are as powerful as they've every been. I think they've taken it to the next level even since last year. They're at a different level," he said.

For Fitzpatrick, he doesn't see Ireland being able to beat the All Blacks in what will be the 29th or 30th contests between the two.

"At the moment the All Blacks are just phenomenal, they're just taking the game to a new level. It's good to watch, they're not just doing anything extraordinary, they just like winning," he said.