Joe Schmidt’s dismisses idea of Ireland as ‘favourites’ against All Blacks

"I wouldn't suggest that Steve Hansen become a bookmaker!"

Joe Schmidt’s dismisses idea of Ireland as ‘favourites’ against All Blacks

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt has today named the team he hopes can achieve an historic double against New Zealand.

Sean O’Brien starts in place of the injured Jordi Murphy but the line-up is otherwise unchanged from the XV that claimed the 40-29 victory over the All Blacks on November 5.

Schmidt confirmed lock Ultan Dillane missed out with a "sore knee" and Keith Earls with a "dead leg".

Peter O'Mahony was unable to train fully on Monday, and so was deemed not quite ready to contest selection.

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen branded New Zealand the "underdogs" for Saturday's rematch - but Schmidt insisted Ireland cannot be considered favourites.

"You'd love to think that we're favourites wouldn't you?" said Schmidt.

"But I wouldn't suggest that Steve Hansen become a bookmaker!

"I think we're at about six to one not that we're allowed to indulge in that. It's a bit better than the 13 to one we were in Chicago.

"You certainly wouldn't put us as favourites.

"I think everyone is due a hiccup."

Schmidt also believes Hansen was not indulging in mind games by branding Ireland as favourites for the rematch in Dublin.

"I don't think so, I know Steve pretty well," said Schmidt, rejecting suggestions of mind games.

"Based on a recent result he's put his summation on that.

"I don't think he believes we'll pay too much heed to that, because we know the quality they are.

"Part of that quality is their coaching team. I learned a lot off some of the people who are involved there.

"I think they are still in a really strong position.

"We just want to try to focus on our own performance, try to use Chicago as a reference point.

"I certainly don't believe that there was any disrespect from the All Blacks or arrogance in Chicago.

"We've got huge respect for them, how could you not have for a team that's won the last two World Cups."

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