Brian O’Driscoll on why he thinks Ireland will beat New Zealand


In a repeat of 2019, Ireland and New Zealand will lock horns this weekend in the quarter-final stages of the Rugby World Cup in what promises to be a mammoth Test match.

Ireland made light work of Scotland in their final pool match to book their place in the knockout stages, while the All Blacks racked up 73 points on Uruguay in the final game.

New Zealand came out on top four years ago but a lot has happened since then, most notably Ireland defeating the All Blacks twice in a row last summer to win their first series on New Zealand soil.

Ireland are yet to get past the quarter-final stage of the Rugby World Cup but Brian O’Driscoll thinks they have every reason to go into this weekend’s game confident they will finally break through that ceiling.

“We should have confidence,” O’Driscoll said on ITV.

“Be nervous about the prospect of what is coming, and maximum respect to the All Blacks – they are a team that have won multiple World Cups.

“But there’s two aspects – defensively we’re a vastly improved team in the last year, they’re miserly and don’t give up many scores. Not often do they concede two tries.

“Then, the evolution of their game plan. Four years ago we came unstuck because we tried to do the same thing for two or three years, just a little bit better, and everyone worked us out. Teams stayed off us for three of four phases and waited for the power play to come, then completely flattened us.

“Whereas, now, we’ve so many shot options – Johnny Sexton can pull the trigger on two, three, four options – and when they don’t pick the right option, and they don’t always, it’s the ability to get back and create one-on-ones, mismatches within a phase or two. That’s a real point of difference in this team.

“Layer on top of that, they’re unbelievable at the ruck. 10 turnovers again today, spread throughout – Jamison Gibson-Park tonight, Conor Murray last week – these guys that have never been turnover kings are now following suit, after guys like Sheehan, O’Mahony, Doris and Porter.

“They’re just putting all the pieces together very well, but it will still take a monumental performance against a very good All Blacks team.”

What do you think? Will Ireland finally get past the quarter-final stages this time? Or will it be more World Cup misery?

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