Ireland excited by shot at ending All Blacks' Eden Park streak

Source: 1News

For the past 28 years, 46 international teams have made a walk out on to Eden Park and have returned 80 minutes later winless against the All Blacks, but Ireland is desperate to turn that history on its head.

Irish hooker Dan Sheehan has been learning about the history of the prestigious rugby ground.

"Starting my season coming to New Zealand for a summer tour was always my main goal, to be here with all the history that is here, how hard it is to win here, it’s special we get to have a crack," he said.

His side have had plenty of opportunities in the past and Eden Park shouldn’t hold too many hoodoos.

Head coach Andy Farrell was the British and Irish Lions defence coach and helped them to a draw here in 2017.

Ireland have also won on Eden Park before, in a pool match upset over Australia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Something else that is familiar is that the Irish have Kiwi-born players who have tasted plenty of Super Rugby success on the field.

Former Blues coach David Nucifora is back at Eden Park and is the director of rugby for the Irish national team.

They even brought in former Māori All Black Rua Tipoki, who has played several seasons for club side Munster to teach them about the Māori culture ahead of their clash.

Sheehan says he’s starting to see why Saturday’s match holds a lot of meaning for both teams.

"For the lads it’s new, it’s my first time here, it’s great to get that understanding of where their motivation comes from," he said.

There’s clearly motivation for a sharp All Blacks squad who will get to play in front of former players and family.

"It doesn’t get much bigger than Eden Park, playing a test, first one of the year and all year playing Super Rugby you dream of that being in the calendar," All Black halfback Aaron Smith said.

Former scrum coach Mike Cron didn’t imagine being there but he will now as he’s part of the Covid-relief crew along with ex-Irish coach Joe Schmidt coming in to assist.