Ireland head coach Andy Farrell says his storied side “go back against everyone” after setting up a delicious series decider against New Zealand.
The Irish ended their wait for their first away win against the All Blacks thanks to an impressive 23-12 win in Dunedin on Saturday.
A landmark victory at Forsyth Barr Stadium came just seven days after the Tourists were defeated 42-19 in Auckland to exit the three-game competition temptingly 1-1.
Farrell is set for a backlash from the Kiwis during next weekend’s final in Wellington but insists his players return to the North Island with confidence.
He said: “We always get an answer, don’t we? Everyone knows that, history tells you. We’ve gotten used to it now. We look forward to that.
“We made a bit of history for ourselves, little old Ireland, but we earned the right to take it to last weekend to see what we can accomplish in the last week.
“The players fight against everyone and the more we can give them these opportunities to play against the best teams in the world, the better they become.”
Ireland benefited from playing against 14 men for much of the second Test after Angus Ta’ava’s 31st-minute red card, which followed fellow All Blacks Leicester Fainga’anuku and Ofa Tu’ungafasi being trapped.
Still, they endured a few moments of panic, leading just 10-7 at half-time before Andrew Porter’s second try of the afternoon calmed nerves.
Farrell was heartened by the growing composure in his ranks.
“I suppose the most impressive thing we’re doing pretty well in this moment is understanding where we are, moment by moment, and staying calm and not getting too intimidated or frustrated by mistakes or decisions or not executing .” said the Englishman.
“We’re pretty good at staying neutral and staying on topic and it helps us to be able to attend and compete in these big games.”
Ireland will get a first taste of Wellington’s Sky Stadium in mid-week before returning there for the crucial third Test.
Farrell’s fringe players will play the local Maori All Blacks in Tuesday’s second of two tour matches.
“There are bigger things for us to think about on this Tour,” said Farrell, whose second row lost 32-17 to the Maoris in Hamilton on June 29.
“We have some young lads in this dressing room inspired by these people (the Test team) who want to come out again on Tuesday night and do well against the Maoris.
“These guys have endured a lot of suffering, that’s what we put them through, the pressure to get them out of their comfort zone.
“The weeks have been completely different than before because we were trying to play five games in such a short time and there was no whining.
“They have been very tough mentally and will support the lads to make sure they are in good shape for Tuesday night.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/andy-farrell-says-ireland-back-themselves-against-anyone-after-stunning-nz-win-41828393.html Andy Farrell says Ireland “fought back on everyone” after impressive win in New Zealand.