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Schmidt aware of rising Irish expectations

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/11/2016 Nick Purewal

Joe Schmidt admits Ireland's maiden victory over New Zealand weighs heavily with "daunting" expectation.

Ireland's Kiwi boss stamped his name into his adopted nation's folklore when his side dispatched the back-to-back world champions 40-29 in Chicago.

Schmidt claimed Ireland capitalised on a "vulnerable" New Zealand beset by injuries and insisted the world champions will arrive for the November 19 rematch in Dublin an entirely different proposition.

The peerless Brodie Retallick will be fit to solve New Zealand's lock crisis, with Schmidt admitting Ireland had targeted New Zealand's experimental tactic of shifting flanker Jerome Kaino into the second row.

"It's kind of daunting," Schmidt said of the expectation which now surrounds his team.

"The amount of emotion that went into that as well as organisation, because we didn't have too much time to train ... but the training we did was bang on.

"All we can guarantee is that we'll keep working really hard and the players are really receptive to working really hard."

A year after southern hemisphere teams dominated at the World Cup, Schmidt says there is little or no gap now between north and south.

He believes it only takes a small fluctuation in one team's form for another to capitalise.

New Zealand, who had won their previous 18 Tests, were no exception.

"I think what it does demonstrate there is that any team is susceptible if there are injuries," Schmidt said.

"The reality is that we did get them when they were a little bit vulnerable.

"Rugby is such an inter-dependant game that as soon as one of the cogs gets shifted slightly, or they're not quite in unison with the other cogs, the wheel doesn't turn too well."

While Schmidt admitted being "blown away" by the victory, he still urged for a sense of calm.

He expects a massive assault from the tourists in two weeks' time.

"That wasn't the All Blacks team that we've seen through the Rugby Championship and I'd have no doubt Brodie Retallick will be fit to contest the match in Dublin - and he'll change a fair bit of what they can deliver at lineout time."

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