All Blacks will come out strong against Ireland - Plumtree

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Assistant coach John Plumtree said it was clear Ireland were looking to build on their wins in 2016 and 2018,

 

But the All Blacks were at their best when they felt their backs were against the wall, he said.

 

"We have to come out swinging, and that's what we'll do," he said.

 

Ireland, after some disappointments last season were brutal around the contact area against Japan at the weekend. They had out-muscled Japan.

 

"It shows what type of form they are in, and what type of challenge it is going to be this week for us," he said.

 

Ireland had made changes since the 2019 World Cup when the All Blacks beat them in the quarterfinals.

 

However, they still had players who played through a successful era under Joe Schmidt and knew what success against the All Blacks looked like.

 

"They'll be building a lot of excitement around this weekend facing us," he said.

 

It would be the biggest challenge to date for the All Blacks on their northern tour.

 

 

"It's one that we're looking forward to. We know that potentially [we face] the last two big games of the year for us, it's been a pretty long road, but it's come to this point and we're really energised. The boys are bouncing and can't wait," he said.

 

As a former coach of Ireland's first five-eighths Jonny Sexton, Plumtree said, he was an experienced player who would have a calming influence over the side.

 

During his Ireland stint, Plumtree said he learned the Irish people's passion for their country. Their players knew who they were playing for.

 

Plumtree said while Ireland were probably disappointed with mixed results in the last Six Nations, they showed in dismantling Japan that they were improving.

 

"We know what a tough challenge this is going to be. The Irish boys respect the All Blacks but we know we will have to work hard in everything on Saturday night as a forward pack, and as a team," he said.

 

One of the tougher selection jobs ahead of the team announcement was deciding on the loose forwards.

 

Each of the players concerned had improved during the tour. All had got better in the areas they were asked to work on by the coaches. That had made selection harder.

 

And skipper Sam Cane's return from injury had only added to the options available.

 

"All of them are putting their hands up. That is exactly what we want at this time of year. The players know that too, because the competition is hot and they have to perform well," he said.

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