Blackadder claims Ireland can halt All Blacks


Todd Blackadder thinks New Zealand will be motivated to create a new legacy following their record-breaking exploits but believes Ireland are capable of halting the All Black juggernaut next month.

The world champions became the first tier-one nation to win 18 consecutive Test matches by seeing off Australia 37-10 at Eden Park last Saturday to complete a 3-0 Bledisloe Cup whitewash.

Steve Hansen's all-conquering side must now turn their attention to facing Ireland in Chicago on November 5, before heading to Europe to take on Joe Schmidt's men once again either side of locking horns with Italy and France.

Blackadder has no doubt the best team in the world will be fuelled by a determination to go from strength to strength, but the former All Black feels Ireland have what it takes to bring them back down to earth.

The Bath director of rugby told Omnisport: "I would say if you just looked at form, you would think not many teams could beat them. But if they think they are unbeatable they will probably get beaten, so it's probably more of a mind thing than anything else. 

"But I don't sense that the All Blacks are a team that would take anything for granted, they've got a record and they want to keep on winning.

"They want to keep growing and getting better so I would think that would be a real motivation to keep performing, keep improving and create a new legacy for themselves - which they will only do if they keep winning.

"I think if anyone can challenge them it is more likely to be Ireland. Ireland will come together and they play them in two games, which is very different when you play in a little mini-Test series.

"The last time they played, Ireland pushed the All Blacks really close and that shows that on any given day there is a chance you can narrow gap.

"If you look at the Rugby Championship, the All Blacks were so far ahead of their rivals. But I still think that coming to the northern hemisphere and playing Ireland in Chicago and Dublin, the All Blacks will certainly have to be on their game."

Blackadder, 45, left Super Rugby team Crusaders to take over at Bath this year.