Ireland captain Rory Best said Friday his team will not fear New Zealand as they chase an elusive first victory over the world champions in Chicago this weekend.
Best, who will win his 98th cap at Soldier Field on Saturday, said the Irish would take a positive mindset into their latest attempt to end a 111-year losing streak.
“We’ve got to respect them but we can’t go out and fear them,” Best told a press conference.
“We’ve got to go out and have our gameplan, stick to it rigidly and ultimately beat the All Blacks.”
New Zealand, who clinched back-to-back World Cup crowns in 2015, arrive in Chicago on the back of a record winning streak.
The New Zealanders have compiled 18 consecutive victories and are favourites to record a 19th against Ireland, who have never beaten the Kiwis in 28 meetings since 1905.
If Ireland are to stand any chance of an upset, Best believes his men will have to play a near-flawless game.
“From what I’ve seen over the Rugby Championship you’ve got to minimise the amount of unforced errors you have,” Best said.
“They’re going to create chances. You can’t then gift them chances on top of that.”
While former New Zealand captain Sean Fitzpatrick recently described the current All Blacks team as the greatest ever, Best was reluctant to get into a comparison of sides through the ages.
“There’s been some fantastic rugby teams and some fantastic All Black teams,” Best said.
“Obviously statistically when you look at what they’ve achieved over the last 12 months, particularly in the Rugby Championship, they’ve looked very, very strong.
“It’s kind hard when your comparing back through generations. But there’s no doubt that this All Black team is an extremely talented team that know how win games of rugby, and know how to win well.
“And if Sean Fitzpatrick is saying they’re the best team then they would have to be close to it.”
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