The All Blacks face Ireland in Dublin this weekend in arguably their toughest Test of the Northern Tour. Before the match this Sunday morning RNZ brings you the ten reasons why we don't mind if Ireland beat the All Blacks.
1. First off it's Ireland NOT England
If England were honest they were much more satisfied with a one point loss to the All Blacks than a last gasp win at Twickenham last weekend. The English are much happier having something to moan and whinge about than actually celebrating victory. And Ireland enjoy beating England just as much as we do.
2. Great players
Kiwis have usually admired Ireland's best. Yes, Brian O'Driscoll seemed to get on New Zealanders' wrong side. But think of the greats of the last 50 years and often Kiwis have celebrated them. Like Mike Gibson, the mid-fielder who graced the 1971 Lions. Or the Munster legend hooker Keith Wood who once outsprinted Jeff Wilson for a try. Plus he was nicknamed The Raging Potato and Uncle Fester, the best names for a hooker ever. Or the great Willie Duggan who legend has it was smoking a cigarette as he ran on the field to play France in the late 1970s. He is said to have given the smoke to the referee as he passed by.
3. The craic
Imagine if Ireland pulled off their first win over the All Blacks in Ireland. Celebrations would be grand and surely any Kiwi venturing into Dublin pubs post-match wouldn't have to put their hands in their pockets for a pint of Guiness.
350-thousand Irish claim to have been at the Thomond Park when Munster beat the All Blacks 12-nil on October 31st 1978 - however the ground only had capacity for 26,000. The game inspired a West End play, led to a best-selling book and spawned a rugby religion. According to the Telegraph "it's the story that side-steps effortlessly between folklore and fact." Coach Tom Kiernan's pre-match talk may well have been the inspiration. He called for silence, rested an arthritic leg on a chair and made as if to gather his thoughts. And then said precisely nothing for at least 10 minutes according to captain Donal Canniffe. Gradually the ploy worked as the giggles and guffaws died down. Nobody dared break the meditative silence and eventually there was no option but to think deeply and personally about the game and challenge ahead. Also they had to restore some pride in the Munster jersey having in between pints a few weeks early been beaten by lowly Middlesex on a short tour of London.
5. Ireland deserve more success against New Zealand
All up the All Blacks and Ireland have played one another 30 times. The All Blacks have won 28 of those tests, drawing one and losing just one. That was in Chicago in 2016 when Ireland won 40-29. The draw came in 1973 at Lansdowne Road - 10-10. Come throw an Irish setter a bone!
6. Even if we lose we win
Ireland has a strong Kiwi connection with Joe Schmidt - possibly the next All Blacks coach - in charge of the side and former Chiefs midfielder Bundle Aki in the line-up.
7. The motivation
A loss for the All Blacks at the tail end of 2018 wouldn't be a bad motivator heading into 2019 and the campaign to win a hat-trick of World Cup titles. And even if Ireland win the All Blacks will still sit atop the world rankings.
8. Ireland's generosity
How can you not like a country that gave us, Father Ted, U2, Oscar Wilde, Irish Stew and Leprechauns, the modern tractor, whisky distilling apparatus, flavoured potato chips, the ejector seat and the submarine (although they weren't built together) and the bacon rasher? Although they also are the reason for Foster and Allen, Ryanair, Val Doonican and Australia.
9. The colour green
If you can't have black, then surely green is the next best colour for a rugby jersey.
And finally because isn't everyone in New Zealand Irish in some way - on St Patrick's Day.
Additional reporting by Barry Guy, Joe Porter and Matt Chatterton