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Brian O'Driscoll demands big improvements against New Zealand

Updated: Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 13:14 | Comments

Brian O'Driscoll: 'We were poor against Australia and that level isn't acceptable' Brian O'Driscoll has warned that Ireland will have to show big improvement against New Zealand
Brian O'Driscoll: 'We were poor against Australia and that level isn't acceptable' Brian O'Driscoll has warned that Ireland will have to show big improvement against New Zealand

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New Zealand will hit Ireland for six unless Joe Schmidt's men sharpen up from last weekend's Australia loss, according to Brian O'Driscoll.

Ireland have never beaten the All Blacks, and 34-year-old O'Driscoll has been open about his determination to overturn that record before retiring at the end of the season.

The calf problem that dogged him earlier in the season has flared up slightly, with the Leinster centre admitting to feeling "tightness" in the muscle.

O'Driscoll will equal Ronan O'Gara's 128-cap Ireland appearance record if he comes through his injury niggle for the final Guinness Series autumn international.

All the records and ambitions will prove meaningless though, should Ireland repeat the incoherent performance that led to a 32-15 defeat last weekend.

"We were poor against Australia and that level isn't acceptable," said Ireland's all-time leading try-scorer.

"If we play anything like that level against the All Blacks there is the potential for a cricket score."

Last time Ireland took on New Zealand, Steve Hansen's men blitzed to a 60-0 rout at Waikato Stadium in June 2012.

"No one will give us a chance but I'm the eternal optimist so I still believe we can beat them" - Brian O'Driscoll

It was a bleak scoreline from Ireland's viewpoint, confirming a 3-0 series whitewash for the Kiwi hosts.

Of the 27 contests between the teams, Ireland have lost 26, only managing a 10-10 draw at Lansdowne Road in 1973.

O'Driscoll knows full well both public opinion and statistics point to an All Blacks victory, but remains undeterred.

He said: "No one will give us a chance but I'm the eternal optimist so I still believe we can beat them.

"If you catch them on an off day and things go right for you, there's always a chance.

"Everyone will write us off but I'm okay with that. We'll treat this game just like any other: as one we can win."

New Zealand will be without centurion fly-half Dan Carter, who suffered an Achilles tendon injury in last weekend's 30-22 victory over England at Twickenham.

Prop Tony Woodcock has been ruled out too after sustaining a hamstring problem in the triumph over England, New Zealand's 13th consecutive victory.

Should they beat Ireland, they will have gone through 2013 with a 100 per cent record.

Live television coverage of Ireland v New Zealand from 13:00 on Sunday 24 November on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only). Live radio coverage on Sunday Sport from 14:00 on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).

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