Rugby Rugby World Cup: Ireland can beat All Blacks by ‘taking game to them’, says Andy Farrell

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Steve Hansen’s side take on the team that’s beaten them twice in their past three clashes.

Ireland’s defence coach Andy Farrell says the All Blacks won’t relish playing his side in the quarter-finals in Tokyo next weekend.

The All Blacks are the world’s No 1 ranked team and back-to-back world champions. And they are odds-on to make it a hat-trick of titles in three weeks’ time. But Ireland have beaten them twice in their past three encounters.

Farrell is not alone in thinking that may be at the back of their minds before Saturday.

Ireland must face Steve Hansen’s team after Japan came through a dramatic test against Scotland in Yokohama on Sunday to qualify as Pool A winners. But Farrell, who takes over from Joe Schmidt as Ireland head coach after the tournament, said his team had nothing to fear and would be better for beating Samoa 47-5 on Saturday, rather than having a weekend off as the All Blacks did.

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“I certainly think so,” he said when asked whether Ireland would benefit from the run-out. “We’d like to think that nobody thinks it’s nice playing against Ireland. We’ll certainly be hard to beat.”

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