Off The Ball
Off The Ball

14.24 16 Nov 2018


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Brian O'Driscoll feels Ireland's best shot of victory over New Zealand is at least a 9 out of 10 performance, while containing the opposition to far below their peak level.

The match that pits first versus second in the world takes place on Irish soil on Saturday evening with Ireland aiming to beat the All Blacks for only the second time, two years on from the historic first triumph in Chicago. 

Brian joined Ger Gilroy on Friday and the former Ireland captain believes simply matching the All Blacks won't be enough. 

"[New Zealand] should be favourites. They should be because they've been beaten 2-3 times since we played them - the Lions and South Africa and maybe Australia have beaten them in there in a Bledisloe Cup match as well - so that's enough by their standards since '16. 

"But if they play 9 out of 10 and we play 9 out of 10, they win and that's the reality of it. So we have to play our 9 out of 10 and contain them to a 7 and then we've got a great shot."  

You can watch BOD's full preview of the match below on YouTube: 

One of the parts of the Ireland team that is still somewhat up in the air is who Joe Schmidt sees as the best understudy to Conor Murray at scrum-half: Connacht's Kieran Marmion or Leinster's Luke McGrath? 

"I think it's a big call and a statement of intent from Joe Schmidt that Marmion now is his No 2 guy," he said of Marmion who has been picked to start ahead of McGrath at the Aviva Stadium.  

"Let's not take anything away from Kieran Marmion, he's not done anything wrong for Ireland any time he's played - a bit like Bundee Aki - very, very good, scored some tries. Would you love for his pass to be a little bit quicker? Yeah, but he doesn't have to be invited twice to go through a gap and lovely score at the weekend, been very solid defensively, so I think it's hard to argue the point that he deserves another opportunity in the biggest game that he'll have played for Ireland." 

In terms of the New Zealand team, BOD does not feel that they're at the level of four years ago, with the back-row slightly weaker than the team of old - "Kieran Read apart" - and also the centre positions not as impressive as in 2015.


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