Bowe: If Ireland hit top form we can finally beat the All Blacks

Tommy Bowe accepts it will take rugby perfection for Ireland to halt the All Blacks juggernaut at Aviva Stadium today. New Zealand are overwhelming favourites to negotiate successfully the next assignment on their Grand Slam tour when they swagger into Dublin.

The world's best team and Tri-Nations champions have never lost to Ireland in 23 matches dating back to 1905 and it would take a seismic upset for that to change today. Facing them is a team whose confidence is brittle, with a defeat by South Africa and unconvincing win against Samoa posing some difficult questions.

Bowe, however, believes Ireland can topple the All Blacks if they strain every sinew in the pursuit of a famous victory. "There's a lot of excitement because New Zealand are playing some great rugby. It's a massive challenge for us," said the Ospreys winger.

"The intensity of training has stepped up a notch and we know that if we want to compete against these boys we need to be at the top of our game for 80 minutes and that's what we've been working on. New Zealand like to play at a certain intensity and it's up to us to match that and go up a level. There is a definite confidence that we have the ability to beat them.

"Their record against us is why we're serious underdogs for this match and we know every player has to put everything on the line for 80 minutes. Hopefully, we'll get the bounce of the ball and it will be our day. There's no panicking going on. We know that given the players we have, we're well capable of victory."

It is difficult to see in which department Ireland can target the tourists, with their own decline since the Six Nations adding to the sense of futility. Several players – most notably Ireland's captain, Brian O'Driscoll, though he is hardly alone – are struggling to make an impact, but otherwise it is hard to explain their slump.

Head coach Declan Kidney has recalled en masse the side thwarted by South Africa, with prop Tom Court replacing injured Tony Buckley at tight head in the only change.

Kidney revealed the selection was to give the players a chance at redemption and Bowe admits they had let themselves down in the autumn opener. "We didn't play to our potential that day and there's a lot to improve on," he said. "This is our third game in and we're more familiar with each other and the Aviva Stadium.

"The fact we've been together longer is going to be a massive factor – it means we should have more of an understanding. We watched a few clips of the Scotland game [Scotland lost 49-3] and New Zealand were very good at capitalising on mistakes. That's the one area we need to concentrate on and minimise as much as possible."

Ireland endured yet another chastening defeat by New Zealand during the summer when they were flattened 66-28. Bowe was among the try scorers, helping peg back a 38-7 half-time deficit in a fightback the team is using to inspire hope.

"We came back strongly against New Zealand in the summer," he said. "We scored four tries that day and not many teams do that against them. We showed that if we hang on to the ball and play rugby, we can score. But of course we gave them a massive head start and it's important not to do that."

The New Zealand centre Conrad Smith insists O'Driscoll's playing obituary is being written far too early. O'Driscoll's form is under scrutiny amid suggestions the 31-year-old, who was magnificent for Ireland and the Lions only last year, is a fading force.

But Smith, his opposite number at Aviva Stadium today, believes the durable Ireland captain will prove his critics wrong once again. "I rate Brian highly. When he came to New Zealand this year, him and Gordon D'Arcy were the guys who stood out," said Smith. "He's a class player, someone I've always enjoyed watching. He hasn't always had an easy time of it against us, but that's nothing to do with him. He's stood the test of time.

"When we came up here in 2008 I was being told he's past it but then he had that amazing year with the Lions and was back to his best. I like that in a player – that's true quality."

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral