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All Blacks must deny the Irish possession, says captain and coach

Newshub logoNewshub 17/11/2018 Ross Karl
a man standing in front of a building: All Black lock Brodie Retallick © Image - Newshub; Video - Newshub All Black lock Brodie Retallick

The All Blacks have identified their defensive lineout as a key to stopping Ireland on Sunday morning (NZT).

They’re determined to eliminate the home side’s possession-based game and not be starved of the ball in the biggest test of the season.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says in recent times Ireland’s game plan has suffocated the attack of opposing teams.

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Only once they’ve exhausted all their options there will they go to a contestable kicking game.

© Reuters. But without the world-class Conor Murray and his wonderful box kicks, Ireland might want to hold onto the ball just a little bit more.

"In terms of how they hold onto the ball they’re the best in tier one nations," Kieran Read assessed.

The All Blacks will use their biggest assets to try to stop the Irish set piece.

"We will have a crack at them at the source, so set piece is going to be vital," said coach Hansen.

It certainly worked last week against England when New Zealand stole four lineouts in the second half and they’ll be lifted by the fact Ireland lost three throws against Argentina last week.

Their hooker and captain Rory Best doesn’t sound overly confident.

"I hold myself to account in the lineout, so regardless, we’ll look through it and there were a few that couldn’t have been thrown any better and we still lost but you still feel those," Best said on Saturday (NZT).

So you can be sure All Blacks lineout forwards Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read will have a crack.

"We pride ourselves on getting in the air and hopefully trying to disrupt as much as we can. So we’ll try to do that again," said Read

Retallick added; "It’s just about reading the cues and picking where they go."

Ireland might also want to hold onto the ball because kicking out means the All Blacks can use their attacking lineout and they’re very wary of that according to captain Peter O'Mahony.

"You see the stats that New Zealand have with stats scored off their lineout. It’s by far the highest area that they’ve scored tries from," he said.

"So, It's an area we’ll focus on."

a close up of text on a black background © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

When the All Blacks do get the ball one solution to stopping Ireland dominating possession is playing them at their own game.

"If we’re going to kick it we have to kick it well. We have to make sure we get a chance to get it back and do a wee bit of suffocation ourselves," Hansen noted.

With the two top-ranked teams promising ball in hand the battle to be the world’s best shouldn’t be a kick-fest.

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