Six Nations Grand Slam champions Ireland present enough of a challenge for world champions New Zealand in Saturday’s Test for the Kiwis not to have to be motivated by a painful defeat in 2016, says Ryan Crotty.
The 30-year-old inflicted his own pain on the Irish in 2013 in Dublin scoring a try off the last move of the match, which was converted to snatch victory after their opponents had led 22-17.
He believes a clash between the top two teams in the world in the cauldron of Lansdowne Road is more than a player could ask for.
“How can you not be excited if you’ve got this opportunity to play?” said Crotty at a media conference.
“It’s two of the best teams in the world going at it, over here, awesome atmosphere, awesome stadium, great fans. You don’t need to go anywhere else, you don’t need to dip into the past to find the desire and the intensity to play and play well.”
Hooker Dane Coles, who provided the pass for Crotty to score that day in Dublin, said he and his teammates did not want to endure what they did in Chicago. “I think we’re doing everything in our power for that not to happen again, because we [he and Crotty] were both involved in Chicago and it wasn’t a great feeling,” said Coles.
“We can talk about history and stuff like that, but it’s all about this week. We won’t be dipping into the past for extra motivation. There’ll be plenty of motivation just to concentrate on this week and hopefully get the job done.”
Crotty, who missed out on the victorious World Cup squad in 2015, and Coles, appear to have the same understanding off the pitch as on it.
Their teamwork came to the fore when Crotty was asked if the All Blacks have the same intensity going into this match as they did in 2016 when they came to Dublin a few weeks after the Chicago defeat and beat the Irish.
“I hope so,” said Crotty. “We’re going to need to. If we don’t we.
“Come off second best,” interjected Coles, who was a key member of the 2015 World Cup winning side but injuries over the past couple of years have seen Codie Taylor take his place in the starting XV. Coles says Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has given the Irish a much more formidable array of skills than they had in the past.
“They ’ve definitely got a more all-round game,” said the 31-year-old. “They’re not the classic team who just scrums and drives, their skill-sets are huge and we’ve felt defeat and stuff like that.
“They can actually play, the forwards have great skill-sets, huge respect for them.
“They’ve probably added their own little taste to international footy over the last six or seven years.”
Crotty, who jokes he has had to apologise to every Irishman he has met since he scored that try in 2013, does not agree the perception of their opponents has changed since Schmidt took over in 2013 even though their last three matches have been far closer than many of the encounters prior to his era.
“They are just an outstanding side,” said Crotty. “I don’t know if the perception has changed but I think the respect is definitely there that they are one of the best in world rugby.”