'Ireland will need something special' - New Zealand press reacts to Ireland quarter-final

'Ireland will need something special' - New Zealand press reacts to Ireland quarter-final

New Zealand's top rugby writers have had their say on the All Blacks' quarter-final encounter with Ireland, and are not giving their fellow countryman Joe Schmidt much chance of causing an upset.

Speaking on the New Zealand Herald Beyond the Game Rugby World Cup show, former All Black and current coach of the Auckland Blues Leon MacDonald was confident that Steve Hansen's side would be well prepared.

"At some point, they were going to come across the Irish. [They'll be] very aware of their threat, lost to them twice, it'll be exciting," MacDonald said, before providing his prediction.

"I think they'll do it relatively comfortably, I think there's 20 points in it."

Reporting on Steve Hansen's comments on Joe Schmidt, Liam Napier writes in the New Zealand Herald that Hansen, "the master of controlling the message", had already ramped up the pressure on Ireland.

Napier continues by lauding Ireland's progression under Schmidt and their danger from set plays, but that Hansen's comments "could perhaps sow seeds of doubt for Irish counterpart Joe Schmidt".

Stuff.co.nz is running "Rugby World Cup Power Rankings" throughout the tournament, and have downgraded the All Blacks chances of winning the tournament from 39% to 35% after it was confirmed that they would face Ireland and not Japan or Scotland at the quarter-final stage.

Despite that reduction, the model (based on four decades of international rugby results) still makes the All Blacks "70% favourites to beat Ireland".

Flanker Sam Cane has also insisted his side have nothing to fear, saying "past games don't count for anything" when asked about Ireland's recent record against the All Blacks.

"It's about this weekend, and the team that can prepare the best and front up the best," he continued. "It doesn't matter what's gone on in the past."

The Rotorua Daily Post meanwhile calls the quarter-final tie a "blockbuster" in their preview of this weekend's game, and said that the All Blacks' extra week off leaves "some concern over their preparation, especially now they will be playing a side who have given them troubles in the past few years."

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