"That's more or less the standard the All Blacks play at" - Rassie Erasmus on Ireland's loss to New Zealand

An incredibly physical encounter at the Aviva Stadium saw two of Steve Hansen's men cited for tackles on Irish players

Rassie Erasmus

Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson 

Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus says that Ireland's bruising encounter with New Zealand last weekend is what is to be expected when playing the world's number one team. 

Joe Schmidt's side were beaten by the All Blacks  21-9 at the Aviva Stadium, just two weeks after they had gotten the better of Steve Hansen's side for the first time in 111 years.

An incredibly physical encounter, Ireland lost three players in the opening 20 minutes as Robbie Henshaw was withdrawn for a crunching tackle from New Zealand's Sam Cane. Cane was later cited for the tackles but received no punishment after World Rugby deemed it an accidental collision.

CJ Stander was removed to undergo a HIA (Head Injury Assessment) later in the first half and did not make it back onto the pitch, instead replaced by Leinster's Josh van der Flier. Malakai Fekitoa was banned for one week after his high tackle on Simon Zebo and Johnny Sexton will also miss Ireland's upcoming game against Australia with a hamstring injury.

Some considered the tactics the All Blacks used were cynical, but Erasmus claims it part and parcel of coming up against the most dominant force in world rugby.

"We in South Africa play regularly, three or four times a year against New Zealand and then against some Super Rugby teams," he said at today's press conference ahead of Musnter's Pro12 clash with Treviso.

"That's more or less the standard that the All Blacks play at. They're tough big boys with high speed collisions and they're certainly physical enough. That's what you get when you play the number one team in the world.

"I was involved three times when we beat them, but was also involved five times when they beat us. I don't have a positive record, but we do have three wins against them.  They're a wonderful side."

Rassie Erasmus was speaking today ahead of Munster's clash with Treviso this weekend in the Pro12. Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson 

Munster welcome their Italian counterparts to Thomond Park this weekend and says that games like these can be potential banana skins because Treviso will play with no pressure or expectation on them.

"We're playing at home, so that helps. The most difficult thing for a team like this is not for them to lose but it's the fact that there's not a lot of pressure that is put on them. They're playing away from home and the shackles are off. They can maybe enjoy it and that's dangerous for teams, coming up against sides who play without fear. 

"It gets crappy and things go their way. They get their tails up and it's individual players that you don't know that well, which can be really great potentially for them. They could be wonderful players but because you don't play against them regularly or see them regularly, you might underestimate them.

"Our talk all week has been to respect them."

Munster will welcome back a number of players from the Ireland squad and says that the experience they have received by playing on an international stage is only positive. Billy Holland is one of these players and was singled out today bu his coach.

"He's a guy who always works so hard and is so dedicated no matter what team he plays in so I think its well deserved. He's the kind of guy who will keep his head down and keep focused to try and get there again.

"He brings back now two or three weeks' experience with international players who are playing a Test match. You're always a better player after that. Hopefully that will rub off to other youngsters in our squad."