Former Ireland international Shane Horgan believes that New Zealand will present a stiffer test for Ireland in Saturday’s clash in Dublin than they did in Chicago two weeks ago.
Ireland claimed their first ever victory over the All Blacks at Soldier Field on November 5, running out convincing 40-29 winners.
However it was an New Zealand team missing several of their top stars and Horgan believes that the return of the likes of Brodie Retallick will make the All Blacks a more formidable outfit.
We need your consent to load this SoundCloud contentWe use SoundCloud to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Horgan said: "It’s certainly strengthened from Chicago. Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick are two of the best second rows in the world, in particular Retallick, his skill set is really important.
"It was an area in which New Zealand struggled in Chicago. The line-out didn’t function as well as it usually would and Ireland got two strong tries with the rolling maul.
"Israel Dagg improves them as well. Ireland had big effect in the air and I think New Zealand are trying to negate that this week.
"I think we will see a better New Zealand this time out. Ireland will need to perform at the level they did in Chicago and even more if they are to beat them. It’s going to be a very tight game."
The Ireland team is expected to be announced at lunch-time today and Horgan expects a similar side to the one that got the better of New Zealand in the United States.
"I don’t think you’re going to see a huge among of changes," he said. "You’re looking at one enforced change with Jordi Murphy leaving the field in Chicago with injury.
"That really comes down to Josh van der Flier or Sean O’Brien or Peter O’Mahony. I think he’s going to go with van der Flier, he’s performed well this evening.
"Then it’s a toss up who goes on the bench between O’Mahony and O’Brien. I think they’ll go with O’Brien just because of his game-breaking ability.
"The other option on the bench there is whether they go with Joey Carbery and Paddy Jackson. I think they may just go for Jackson based on a pretty flawless kicking show last weekend."