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13th Nov 2018

How do you solve a problem like the All Blacks?

Michael Corry

all blacks

The New Zealand, All Blacks are the toughest team in sports to overcome.

Ireland tried for 108 years to get one over on them, and it wasn’t until two years ago that Joe Schmidt’s men finally came out on the right side of a result against the greatest team in rugby.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying. They could have taken New Zealand in Dublin two weeks after that triumphant maiden victory, but on that day the All Blacks won dirty.

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The 2013 meeting between the two sides is another one. After the Argentina encounter, Joe Schmidt referenced that game as one that still makes him bleed to this day.

Indeed, England probably should have beaten New Zealand on Saturday, but ultimately fell short close to the line.

What is about this nation of rugby players that makes them so hard to beat?

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Andrew Trimble was part of that first ever Irish side to topple the All Blacks in 2016. The former Ulster winger tried to dissect why they can consistently keep themselves in games without playing well on this week’s episode of Baz and Andrew’s House of Rugby.

“The psychologies just shifted slightly, once you beat them once there’s always the potential to beat them again. I think, obviously it just unravelled a little bit for England and they got chinned at the end and that happens teams time and time again.” Trimble said. 

“It happened South Africa, it happened Ireland in 2013. I think it’s the psychology of New Zealand and the team they are playing.

“If you’re ahead there’s this tendency to just tighten up. They know they are going to get back into it because they are winners. Ireland know, England know, whoever it is playing them know.

“Please just keep doing what you’re doing, if you don’t keep doing what you’re doing then you are going to get chinned.”

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Sky Sports’ Alex Payne was this week’s guest co-host. He pressed Trimble on whether teams were desperate for the final whistle when leading against New Zealand. Trimble agreed, but also made it clear that this mindset works against most sides.

“It’s counter intuitive though if you are desperate for the final whistle then you kind of turn it into a bit of a slog and you shut up shop.” Trimble said.

“If you do that, it’s game over.

“If you just put it out, they get possession back. You need to hold onto the ball because if you just kick it back to them they’ll put you under pressure with their counter attack and get back into it.

“They’ll get their tails up and then you’ll see it from their body language ‘Ah nah, it’s happening again’.”

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According to Trimble, the key to beating New Zealand is continuing to play rugby right until the final whistle. Teams have a tendency to shut up shop. However, the former international feels that Ireland’s mindset has changed in this regard now.

“You just have to keep playing, you have to keep doing what kind of feels a little bit unnatural when you’re playing the All Blacks.” Trimble said. 

“But that mindset I think has just shifted a little bit, I think Ireland feel like they can play, I think they tried to play a lot of rugby at the weekend. Maybe once or twice, too much rugby but they’ll need that mindset going into the All Blacks game. 

Countdown is on.