O'Driscoll relishes 'special' task against New Zealand

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The Independent Online

Brian O'Driscoll said yesterday that games against New Zealand present a special challenge. Ireland are looking for their first win over the All Blacks today.

Ireland's captain said: "I think it's always special. It's always a big game because we know how good they are and because we've never actually managed to win a Test match against them. Every time it's a huge challenge and you know you have to bring out your very best to live with them, and produce something spectacular to beat them."

Michael Bradley, Ireland's stand-in coach for the tour to New Zealand and Australia, said: "The level of performance, particularly from this group of players, has been very good. There is a healthy respect for Irish rugby and it's attributed to the bulk of the players that are here."

In Argentina, Chris Paterson said Scotland's result against the Pumas in Rosario today was more important than any milestones he has a chance of passing. The 30-year-old full-back will equal Scot Murray's cap record with an 87th Test appearance.

"I like being part of the team," said Paterson. "I don't think about my benefit. I want as many caps as possible and as many points as possible but always to be productive for the squad." Paterson has 659 Test points and could overhaul Gavin Hastings' Scottish record of 667.

Scotland's coach, Frank Hadden, said: "We must win the series to go up the ranking. We cannot go into the next World Cup with a seeding of 10th."

New Zealand: M Muliaina (Chiefs); A Tuitavake (Blues), C Smith, M Nonu (both Hurricanes), S Sivivatu (Chiefs); D Carter, A Ellis (both Crusaders); N Tialata, A Hore (both Hurricanes), J Afoa (Blues), B Thorn (Crusaders), A Williams (Blues), R So'oialo

(Hurricanes), R McCaw (Crusaders, capt), J Kaino (Blues). Replacements: K Mealamu (Blues), J Schwalger (Hurricanes), A Boric (Blues), A Thomson, J Cowan (both Highlanders), S Donald (Chiefs), L MacDonald (Crusaders).

Ireland: R Kearney; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll (capt; all Leinster), P Wallace, T Bowe (both Ulster); R O'Gara (Munster), E Reddan (Wasps); M Horan, J Flannery, J Hayes, P O'Connell, D O'Callaghan, D Leamy, D Wallace (all Munster), J Heaslip (Leinster). Replacements: R Best (Ulster), T Buckley, M O'Driscoll (both Munster), S Jennings (Leinster), P Stringer (Munster), G Murphy (Leicester), G Dempsey (Leinster).

Referee: C White (England).

Other teams,

digest, page 70

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