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All Blacks, Ireland face different pressures in Dublin

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Lynn McConnell     15 Nov 2016     Getty Images

For New Zealand it was about getting back to their best touch after the disappointment of a first loss to Ireland in 111 years, while for Ireland the challenge was to repeat the win on Irish soil.

Lock Sam Whitelock said at Monday's press conference in Dublin that the pressure was always there.

"It's Test rugby, there's pressure no matter who you're playing, where you're playing so that's always there and as long as there's Test rugby it will be there," he said.

Prop Owen Franks said Ireland had the monkey off their back and for them the ultimate would be to back-up their Chicago performance as that was the sign of a really good team.

"There's pressure on us to perform better than we did last time, and better as individuals. Like Sam said, there's always pressure, that's what you play for," he said.

Franks said he hadn't thought about the burden of being in a team that suffered the first defeat in 111 years.

"I guess it's a sign of the times, it's professional rugby. Ireland are just like us, they train every day to be better so to see them improve is awesome for them," he said.

Franks added that he expected another big effort from Ireland, especially with them being at home in front of what would be a huge home crowd.



The All Blacks were not surprised by Ireland's play in Chicago.

"I don't think we were caught off-guard, they just capitalised really well. They were good enough to capitalise on the mistakes we made and punish us for them. I don't think we were under any illusions that they weren't going to be that good because obviously the Test we played in 2013 they almost beat us then as well," Franks said.

The game wasn't an issue of revenge for the All Blacks.

"Any time where you don't perform to your best, or put your best effort out there it's more for yourself. It wasn't Ireland's fault that we played bad," he said.

Whitelock said he was of a similar view.

"When you go out there and don't perform individually or collectively as a team, the next opportunity you want to get out there and improve on where you played. That's what we're focusing on at the moment, getting better every week.

"I thought the guys played really well last weekend and really took some steps in the right direction but we've just got to do that again this week," he said.

Whitelock said his ankle was feeling good and he had been doing the right things to try and get it in the best possible shape. He would train fully and if there was any problem it should expose itself.

"There's some things I haven't done yet so once I get into that I will know how it is and whereabouts I am," he said.

Scott Barrett had performed well, Whitelock said. It had been unfortunate for him to get injured a couple of seasons ago but this year he had performed well for both the Crusaders and Canterbury and he was young, athletic and keen to get out and go hard and that had been seen in his two Tests.

There were a lot of things that had to improve from Chicago, it wasn't just some lineout issues, it was across the board, he said.