Irish critics predict more doom and gloom

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 11:47 11/06/2012

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The Irish media gave glowing accounts of the All Blacks' season-opening performance and forecast more doom for their own side.

They were rich in their praise for New Zealand's 42-10 demolition job at Eden Park and just as strong in their condemnation of the men in green.

"The Irish had no answer for the pace and power of world champions' backline. The running lines and swift incisions of Israel Dagg, Conrad Smith and Julian Savea caused Ireland problems throughout and coach Declan Kidney will need to come up with a way of negating the dangerous New Zealand backs if Ireland are to avoid a series sweep," reported the Daily Mail.

The Irish Times credited Steve Hansen with getting even more out of the world champions in his first-up effort in charge of the All Blacks.

"As feared, the newly crowned world champions are not only at peace with the world but also concocting another heady brew and, as also feared, Ireland were the first to be feasted upon," the Times reported.

"Combining a few of a vintage crop combined with the latest off their conveyor belt, the All Blacks won the first of a three-test series pulling up. The All Blacks played at a tempo, intensity and a skill level that Ireland struggled to live with.

"Errors in communication defensively were compounded by an increasing passivity as the match wore on for one of the manifold differences between the sides. Another was the vastly swifter line speed which the All Blacks employed in defence. Ireland - though willing - looked a little stung amid yet more evidence of the psychological damage caused by over a century of beatings by New Zealand, many of them sizeable."

The Irish Independent predicted another couple of tough weeks for the tourists on the evidence that unfolded at Eden Park.

"It was appropriate that Ireland should finish the game unable to contest the scrums, and barely able to plug the holes that were springing up all over the ship," the Independent reported.

"Unfortunately, it will be another two Saturdays before the vessel slips completely below the waterline. In the context of this fixture, the final scoreline was unremarkable, as was the trend of the game. Instead of being blitzed from the off, Ireland were genuinely competitive for the first quarter, less so for the second, and scarcely mapped in the second half.

"Too often what ball Ireland did have was used predictably: going out the back early if it was moved wide, and then, when possession slowed and fatigue was setting in, the All Blacks were able to pick off carriers and sink them easily."

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