Ireland vs. All Blacks: who are the world’s best Test rugby team?
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen is excited about the clash in Dublin
Steve Hansen says the winner of the Ireland vs. New Zealand Test match will settle the world’s best rugby side debate.
World champions New Zealand are No.1 in the World Rugby rankings, while Ireland are in second place. Both sides go into Saturday’s big clash in Dublin on the back of victories in last weekend’s autumn international fixtures.
Ireland were 28-17 winners against Argentina while the All Blacks beat England 16-15 at Twickenham.
On arrival in Dublin, All Blacks head coach Hansen told the New Zealand Herald: “It is one and two, so whoever wins will be the best side in the world regardless of rankings. That is the mental state people take out of it so it is going to be a good one.
“We don’t have to talk about it because there is enough experience in the group to know that this is the type of game it is. You don’t get any bigger.
“We talked about last week being a big game... 80,000 people in the stadium and I think England had been beaten once at home in the last 16 or 17 games.
“Ireland I don’t think have been beaten too often either. And they are the number two side in the world, and you don’t get to play one and two that often when they are in two separate hemispheres so when they do come about they become pretty big games.”
On 5 November 2016 Ireland shocked the All Blacks with a 40-29 win at Soldier Field in Chicago – their first victory against the Kiwis in 111 years. But in the 19 November fixture in Dublin, New Zealand ran out 21-9 winners.
The Irish Rugby Football Union has confirmed that scrum-half Conor Murray and centre Robbie Henshaw have been ruled out of the matches against New Zealand and the US.
Ireland vs. New Zealand TV channel
Saturday’s match at the Aviva Stadium starts at 7pm UK time and will be shown live on Channel 4.
World Rugby international rankings
Top ten standings, as of 12 November.
- 1 New Zealand 93.58 points
- 2 Ireland 90.12
- 3 Wales 86.70
- 4 England 85.54
- 5 South Africa 83.94
- 6 Scotland 82.75
- 7 Australia 82.51
- 8 France 78.20
- 9 Argentina 78.01
- 10 Fiji