Clock ticking closer to All Black time; Ireland’s drab form continues

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Republic of Ireland’s Darren Randolph makes a save during the international friendly with Northern Ireland. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Republic of Ireland’s Darren Randolph makes a save during the international friendly with Northern Ireland. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Just one more sleep. One more sleep until the day we’ve been waiting for. Green v black. Ireland v New Zealand. The world is watching. Two defeats in this World Cup so far leave Ireland in desperate need of a wi– oh ... wait, you meant the rugby? I thought we were looking ahead to Ireland v New Zealand in the Women’s World T20 which, incidentally, takes place at the same time as the rugby in Dublin. But anyway, the rugby. Joe Schmidt’s side have the chance tomorrow to show the world that they are genuine contenders. But that doesn’t mean the fear factor isn’t there. Speaking yesterday, Schmidt says he still worries before most games and none more so than this one, as Gerry Thornley writes.

We have bucketloads of build-up to the big game for you to get through today with Liam Toland analysing how Ireland must play if they are to pull off the biggest scalp of all. “Anger is an unreliable guide to action; it is not informed by wisdom. What ratio of anger over wisdom do Ireland need to call upon this weekend?” he writes. Meanwhile, Bundee Aki goes up against the country of his birth tomorrow but, despite some barbs thrown at him earlier in the week, he seems pretty unbothered by it all. “I roomed with Bundee last week. He chatted quite a bit to me about it [this game]and I know he can’t wait to get out there and have a shot at these guys. said Connacht team-mate Kieran Marmion. All week Keith Duggan has been strolling down memory lane to past meetings between these two sides and, to put it bluntly, today’s offering makes for pretty grim reading. It was 1997 when a terrifying All Blacks side came to Dublin and humiliated Ireland. Have a read if you feel you need to temper that optimism just a little. For full coverage of tomorrow’s big match you can tune into our liveblog from 6pm (kick off: 7pm) while we will have plenty of reports, reaction and analysis afterwards from our team of writers. For all you need to know ahead of the game you can go here while we have collated some of our best writing from the week right here.

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