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Ireland can beat All Blacks again: Cronin

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/11/2016 Nick Purewal

Ireland's hooker Sean Cronin (2nd R) makes a break during the rugby union test match between Ireland and Canada at the Aviva stadium in Dublin on November 12, 2016. © PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images Ireland's hooker Sean Cronin (2nd R) makes a break during the rugby union test match between Ireland and Canada at the Aviva stadium in Dublin on November 12, 2016. At least one Irish player believes coach Joe Schmidt's coaching "think-tank" can conjure another peerless game plan to help sink New Zealand a second time.

Wily tactician Schmidt relishes developing one-off Test match blueprints, and Ireland hooker Sean Cronin has tipped the shrewd Kiwi to pull another master stroke in Dublin on Saturday.

Ireland claimed their first ever win over the All Blacks in Chicago on November 5, but now Cronin has admitted Schmidt's men will need an entirely fresh approach to down the back-to-back world champions again.

South Africa were the last team to claim successive victories over New Zealand, in 2009, but Cronin insists Schmidt has the tactical supremacy to help Ireland emulate that feat.

"There's no better man than Joe to put together a game plan to go and attack them this week," said Cronin, with Ireland desperate to back up the 40-29 victory at Soldier Field.

"And I'm sure Joe has been in the think-tank with the rest of the coaches devising something special for us."

Ireland claimed their first win over New Zealand in 111 years of trying in Chicago, but are likely to face a changed All Blacks line-up at the Aviva Stadium this weekend.

Lock Brodie Retallick should start and restore the physical edge that helped New Zealand storm to a record 18 straight victories before losing to the Irish.

Fellow-lock Sam Whitelock could also return and that pairing alone would transform the approach of Steven Hansen's men.

Ireland have no fresh injury issues after their comfortable 52-21 win over Canada, and Iain Henderson's return to full fitness boosts resources at lock.

Connacht powerhouse Ultan Dillane is likely to maintain a seat on the bench at Henderson's expense, however, with the Ulster man only just over his shoulder trouble.

Pocket-rocket replacement hooker Cronin insisted Schmidt's ability to revamp the approach week on week would infuse Ireland with confidence ahead of facing down the inevitable New Zealand backlash.

"It's got to be a different mentality, depending on their selection.

"As long as we get the attitude right, the physicality and the mentality, we know we can match anyone."

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