Mack Hansen: Ireland determined to level the series despite being written off in New Zealand

·3-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Ireland wing Mack Hansen insists his side are playing to win and is not concerned if the team are being written off ahead of the second Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

Hansen’s team had a strong first quarter in the opening Test but fell away as the All Blacks ran away with the game, winning 42-19 at a sold-out Eden Park.

Straight in the starting line-up

The Australian-born speedster replaces Keith Earls in the starting line-up after recovering from Covid-19. Hansen knows that Ireland have been written off by many but believes that his side are aiming for an upset under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

“I think everybody’s definitely written us off straight away,” he said. “We had a very good Six Nations and autumn Tests leading up to that, so people can say what they want to say.

“We know what we need to do to get a win and there’s a great feeling around the group so, if everybody wants to write us off, that’s great.

“We’re not here just to take part. We want to get a win over here and be the first team to do it.

“That’s always a nice thing to have on our shoulder, we’ve got nothing to lose really and New Zealand rarely lose over here so more pressure on them.”

Hansen is now fully recovered from his Covid-19 and understands that Ireland needs to reduce their number of mistakes in Dunedin.

“At the end of the day, it’s just what you can control,” he said. “All the errors, they feed off those so, if we can bring those down, it’s going to make for a lot closer game.

“I thought last week isn’t how we normally play and how we’ve been playing so plenty of work-ons but plenty of learnings.

“Our attack, I thought, was pretty good. You hear rarely about getting held up six times, it’s obviously just that last bit we have to work on but I think we showed that the attack is there. It’s just getting it down over the line.”

Running rugby under the roof

Playing under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium allows for perfect conditions and a fast pitch, making for some great attacking rugby on Saturday.

“I think it’s definitely a help for both teams just because running rugby, we both play pretty similar styles, I’d say, and like to keep the ball infield,” he said.

“Whenever you can play on a dry pitch it’s just better for everyone, it’s a better spectacle.

“We know what they’re going to bring – the All Blacks like to keep the ball in play and try and run you around the pitch.”

READ MORE: New Zealand v Ireland preview: All Blacks to wrap up series despite improved Irish performance

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