Rugby-Seconds out: All Blacks and Irish go again in second test


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Ireland v Italy - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland - February 27, 2022 Ireland head coach Andy Farrell before the match REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

(Reuters) - New Zealand and Ireland are preparing for a second titanic test in Dunedin on Saturday as the tourists fight to stay alive in the series and the All Blacks look to drive home their advantage.

The All Blacks won the opener at Eden Park 42-19 last week but the Irish fought to the bitter end and were still banging away at the home try line five minutes after the hooter.

A burst of three tries in eight minutes before the break ultimately proved the difference between the teams and coach Andy Farrell said his players knew better than to let it happen again.

"The lads are in a good place, there's a bit of doubt creeps in when you don't know the answers, but they know the answers," he told reporters on Thursday.

"They know the access that they gave the All Blacks and they understand that you can't do that or you'll be behind your own posts."

Both sides made one change, with Farrell bringing in Mack Hansen for Keith Earls after the Australian-born winger missed the series opener because of a positive COVID-19 test.

Captain Johnny Sexton remains at flyhalf despite failing a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) during last week's match having subsequently passing two further tests.

New Zealand have lost three of their last six meetings with Ireland and coach Ian Foster said his players were under no illusions that another big challenge lay ahead of them.

"We saw last week two very good rugby teams on the pitch," he said.

"We know they are going to be desperate to keep the series alive. We've spoken about that, but talking is one thing and doing is another. We are very determined."

Foster made one enforced change to his side after lock Sam Whitelock was ruled out by a concussion, moving Scott Barrett to the second row and bringing Dalton Papalii into his back row at blindside flanker.

The All Blacks might miss the extra option Barrett brought to the lineout last week but are hoping to exploit the pace of Papalii, who is normally an openside.

That might be all the more the case at the Otago Stadium, where the clear plastic roof protects players from the elements and can make for some exciting rugby.

"We all know it suits the All Blacks," said Farrell. "Every match I've watched at the stadium has been fantastic. It will be quick and the ball will be fizzing around for sure."

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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