Penney: Irish must conquer NZ mental block

New Munster coach Rob Penney believes Ireland must overcome the mental barrier of playing the All Blacks to make any impression in their forthcoming three-test series of New Zealand in June.

Declan Kidney’s men will look to register their first win over the Kiwis in a bid to end a losing streak that stretches almost 150 years.

“The psychological aspect has a massive part to play in it,” said Munster’s new coach. “The All Blacks have total belief. I’m sure the Irish lads are thinking about that a lot and how they can get over that because in the past, they’ve been in positions where they should have won when they should have shut it out. Every All Blacks team that plays against Ireland will be saying: ‘We don’t want to be the first team to lose to Ireland’.”

Penney’s adopted province remain the only Irish side to ever beat New Zealand and the Canterbury man has fond memories of Munster’s epic win over the All Blacks more than 30 years ago.

“I remember the game in 1978 well,” said Penney.

“I was about 13 at the time, so I remember seeing bits and pieces of that and what an impact it made on New Zealanders for an All Black team to be beaten by an Irish club team at the time… it was massive.”


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