The New Zealand All Blacks will be the third team to be welcomed to the Aviva Stadium in the Guinness Autumn series and will provide the sternest test in Joe Schmidt’s early tenure as head coach of the Irish rugby team.
At present the All Blacks are undefeated in the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship. Three wins, including one away to Australia, 12 tries and a gathering head of steam mean that Irish may well be welcoming the Rugby Championship champions on Sunday the 24th of November.
With games home and away against South Africa, the only other team in the running, and a trip to Argentina New Zealand are firm favourites to secure the championship.
Ireland’s record against the All Blacks does not make comfortable reading. The teams have gone head to head on 27 occasions with the All Blacks prevailing on 26 with 1 solitary draw the only blemish in the record. That draw was all the way back in 1973 more recently we finished within 3 heartbreaking points of them in 2012.
Joe Schmidt will be hoping for a strong start against the Samoans before the visit of an Australian team who will be seeking vengeance after their Lions defeat. In fairness it was mostly the Welsh that were the offending party there so hopefully the Wallabies will be keeping their powder dry for their clash with the Welsh. Schmidt has very little to lose in this tussle with the All Blacks, he will be hoping that any defeat will not be too demoralising and will come on the back of wins in the first two test with the real deal coming the following spring as Ireland hope to make more of a mark in the 6 Nations..