Kieran Read spoke to the media during the All Blacks’ captain’s run this afternoon at the Aviva Stadium and he believes that his side will need to produce the best performance of their season if they want to get a victory over Ireland.
It’s been a long season for the All Blacks. They played a three-Test series against France during the summer which was followed by The Rugby Championship and an extra game against the Wallabies for Bledisloe III.
After that, it was their northern hemisphere tour which began in Japan before travelling to Europe.
“We’re going to need the best performance of our season I think,” Read said.
“The way the Irish have been playing. I know we’re prepared as well as we can physically and the guys are looking forward to a match so we’re going to go out there and give it our all.”
The All Blacks have been looking forward to this match for some time now as Read admits Joe Schmidt’s charges are the best team in the northern hemisphere.
“Yeah, it’s an exciting time. Any game where you come across to this part of the world and these teams are playing really well. The Irish are undoubtedly the best side up here at the moment and for us to challenge ourselves in their conditions is an exciting time.”
Ireland’s lineout showed some weakness against Argentina where they lost three on their own throw and Read reveals that they will be contesting in that area to hopefully secure some turnover ball, a scenario in which they are very dangerous.
“Look, we certainly done our homework on their lineout and to be honest, they’ve been fairly strong over the course of the last six to 12 months but yeah, there are always opportunities, but for us we always pride ourselves on getting in the air and hopefully, try to disrupt as much as we can. So we will try to do that again.”
For Ireland, it would be fair to say this has been the most eagerly-anticipated fixture of 2018, Grand Slam aside. Schmidt said on Thursday that he expects a “spiky” occasion and Read concurs that there will be a lot of “emotion” and “heat” on Saturday.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of emotion, a lot of heat out here which is what you want to see when two big teams come up against each other. I think it will be an awesome Test match and it’s what I’m looking forward to.”