Ireland turn to Rugby League for All Black answers

Ireland’s Rugby team are looking at taking a leaf out of the kick and chase tactics used in rival code rugby league as they search for their first victory over the All Blacks.

In the lead up to Saturday’s second Test in Christchurch, the team watched the second Australian State of Origin rugby league match between New South Wales and Queensland.

“I think the guys enjoyed it a lot,” said Ireland’s backs coach Les Kiss, a former Australian rugby league international himself, adding a strong kick-and-chase game would put pressure on the All Blacks.

Ireland lacked venom when fly-half Jonathan Sexton kicked downfield in the first Test last week, allowing New Zealand to launch damaging counter attacks.

The end result was a 42-10 humiliation with the All Blacks outscoring Ireland by five tries to two, forcing the tourists to seek a new solution.

Pinning the opposition in their own half with a strong kicking game is a key element of league and Kiss believed that would also work in union against the All Blacks — whom Ireland have never beaten.

“There were a lot of good things in the game and it’s certain that watching other sports you can learn certain lessons and the kick-chase will be vital,” he said of the Origin match, which New South Wales won 16-12.

“The counter attack of New Zealand is fairly vicious so the kick-chase is going to have to be right up there.

“You need to have an intensity in it that takes away the options that they do have. If we can get the right intensity there we can negate the way they run back.”

The Irish players had been given the message that they need to adapt to the All Blacks’ quick counter-attack, he said.

“If we can do that and negate the type of flow they like then we’ll be in a better place. We’ll be able to get the line speed we like” and “cause some havoc”, he added.

Ireland trained on Friday in grim, wet conditions and the forecast is for similar weather on Saturday.

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