Ireland are genuine challengers to the All Blacks; Robbie Brady relishing return

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

The Ireland team training at Carton House ahead of the weekend’s clash with New Zealand. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Ireland team training at Carton House ahead of the weekend’s clash with New Zealand. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ahead of their meeting with the All Blacks in the Aviva on Saturday - and in addition to hosting the All Blacks again in November 2021 - Ireland have announced that they are in line to tour New Zealand for a three-Test series in 2022. Ireland have lost all 12 Tests against the All Blacks in New Zealand, and the proposed 2022 tour would be Ireland’s first to New Zealand since 2012. In his column this morning, Gordon D’Arcy writes that we are now genuine challengers to the All Blacks: “In Dublin this weekend Ireland have only one more team to knock off their perch until the World Cup quarter-final because thereafter the task is to cope with being defending champions. What a wonderful place for a professional athlete to exist.”

With just three games under his belt since he ended an 11-month injury absence, Robbie Brady is itching to get the Republic of Ireland jersey back on. Ireland face Northern Ireland in a friendly international tomorrow, before taking on Denmark in the Nations League on Monday night. “Walking out at the Aviva is always special,” says the Burnley midfielder. “I’m desperate to get back to it, I’m desperate to go out and play there and then play in Denmark the week after. It’s been a long time coming. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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