All Blacks vs Ireland : Can Ireland finally end New Zealand’s total dominance at the Rugby World Cup?
The All Blacks are gunning for their third straight RWC victory, and there’s little to suggest that won’t happen again.
Heading into the Ireland game, the All Blacks are unbeaten in 17 matches at the World Cup.
Match: All Blacks vs Ireland
Competition: Rugby World Cup 2019
Date: October 19, 2019
Kick-off time: 11:15 am (UK time)
Stadium: Tokyo Stadium
France were the last team to beat the All Blacks at the 2007 World Cup.
Ireland finished second in Pool A behind Japan with three wins and a defeat.
New Zealand topped Pool B with three wins, while their match against Italy was called off due to bad weather.
Memorably, Ireland beat the All Blacks last November as New Zealand lost without scoring a try.
An Irish critic who enraged New Zealanders by describing the haka as a marketing gimmick may just have sharpened the focus of the All Blacks for the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.
The All Blacks haven’t lost a game at the sport’s marquee event since a quarterfinal upset against France in 2007, rebounding from that with back-to-back titles in 2011 and ’15 during a decade run at No. 1.
Ireland hasn’t won a knockout match in seven attempts at the Rugby World Cup.
Nerves will be a factor at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday, but the Irish have won two of their last three tests against the All Blacks, starting with their historic first at Chicago in 2016 and another in Dublin last November.
The Irish have a Kiwi head coach in Joe Schmidt, who is well versed in New Zealand rugby. And his assistant, Andy Farrell, has worked out a defensive system that seems to be working against the All Blacks.
Awesome is also a word Mo’unga used to describe Sexton. And that’s where some backup from Barrett, who will start in 15 but likely show up as a first receiver at times, will help Mo’unga. There are three Barrett brothers in the New Zealand 23, so they’ll seem like they’re up all over the field.
The tandem playmaker strategy took a little while to settle, but the backline awareness has improved immeasurably and helped in the pool-stage win over South Africa.
“We’ve come a long way since our first pairing,” said Mo’unga, who has carved out his spot as the preferred kicker. “It’s important to know we’re never going to get everything right but we’re trying to sharpen up parts of our game where we can help each other and, as key drivers of the team, help the team out.”
Schmidt has recalled Rob Kearney at fullback and Peter O’Mahony on the blindside flank and moved Robbie Henshaw to inside center to cover for the absence of Bundee Aki, who was banned for three games after his red card for a high tackle against Samoa last weekend. Garry Ringrose will start at outside center.