Ireland test a blur to debutant Luke Romano

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 25/06/2012
Luke Romano
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
BLUR: All Blacks lock Luke Romano in action.

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Having another gawp at the 60-0 obliteration of Ireland may be a priority for Luke Romano.

Lock Romano, who made his All Blacks debut at Waikato Stadium on Saturday night, was still sweating as he fronted in his dress suit after the match but struggled to recall many specifics about the encounter.

"The game was all sort of a blur for me, really. She was pretty quick. I'll have a look at the game and things will come back to me."

When he does sit down to watch a rerun he should be satisfied with what he observes.

It was the type of game that suited his style. He made several valuable carries, his set-piece work was tidy and, importantly, he didn't get too caught up in the runaway result and begin lurking in the backline looking for plums.

The hours ahead of kickoff crawled along. Cups of coffee, cards games and clock-watching were a part of his routine.

There was ample time to watch captain and Crusaders team-mate Richie McCaw prepare and he will hope it is a routine he can continue to imitate if coach Steve Hansen selects him for the Rugby Championship which starts in August.

"Guys [McCaw] like that, when you see them in a buildup to a test they are so calm and composed and you sort of use their energy to settle yourself," Romano stated.

"A guy like `Ricko' playing 105 tests, there is no better role model to learn from."

Unlike the second test in Christchurch, the Irish were unable to generate the same level of passion and were badly burned.

Romano, too, admitted he couldn't believe the record-winning margin.

"It was a bit surreal really. That is just the calibre of players we have. Given the good ball and being allowed to do what they do they certainly set the field on fire anyway."

Having selected two rookie locks in Brodie Retallick and Romano alongside Sam Whitelock and Ali Williams, Hansen is unlikely to jettison the newcomers when he names his next squad.

A 28-man squad with two extra members to train in New Zealand will be revealed. Only 26 will travel abroad.

Four locks are expected to be required and he refused to discount Williams who had a knee operation after the 22-19 win in Christchurch. He is expected to be back running in six weeks.

The veteran's experience may save his hide following his ill-disciplined display at AMI Stadium.

"There's not a lot of alternatives, either," Hansen said."His [advice] on how to be an international lock on a day-to-day [basis] off the park, as much as on the park, has been outstanding in this campaign.

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"We would like to continue with him in that role, if not on the park."

- The Press

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