Best hopes ref­eree Peyper is on tune

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Ire­land’s hopes of back­ing up the his­toric win over New Zealand a fort­night ago could rest in to­day’s match ref­eree Jaco Peyper be­ing less harsh on them than he was in the Six Na­tions de­feat to France, says cap­tain Rory Best.

The South African of­fi­cial’s pe­nal­is­ing of the Ir­ish scrum, his er­ror in call­ing a knock on in an Ir­ish try when the ball came off the midriff not the hands of Rob­bie Hen­shaw, and fail­ing in coach Joe Sch­midt’s eyes to sin bin two French play­ers for a late hit on Jonathan Sex­ton and a high tackle on Dave Kear­ney left a sour taste in the los­ing side’s mouth back in Fe­bru­ary. How­ever, Best said he hoped the match would be free of such con­tentious is­sues as the Ir­ish seek to be­come the first side since South Africa in 2009 to win back to back Tests against the world cham­pi­ons. “We had a few an­gling is­sues last time (with Peyper) at the scrum,” said the 34-yearold hooker, who will win his 99th cap. “The All Blacks, though, are a dif­fer­ent style of scrum to the French. “We’ll have a lot of con­fi­dence in him as a ref­eree and hope he can pro­duce be­cause we don’t in­tend to change any­thing in the way we are dis­ci­plined... we have no in­ten­tion of chang­ing from two weeks ago.” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who de­spite the book­ies dic­tat­ing oth­er­wise claimed his side were the un­der­dogs go­ing into the game af­ter los­ing for the first time in 29 Test meet­ings stretch­ing over 111 years to the Ir­ish in Chicago, said he was look­ing to the Ki­wis’ char­ac­ter­is­tic of re­silience to see them bounce back. “There’s a lot of re­silience in New Zealand and a lot of earth­quakes,” Hansen told the Daily Mail. “That’s (re­silience) been passed down through gen­er­a­tions, be­ing looked down on as colo­nials-that cre­ated a fierce de­ter­mi­na­tion for the early All Blacks teams. “Those stan­dards have cre­ated a legacy for to­day’s All Blacks. We’re only pass­ing through.

“None of us earn the jersey. The re­spon­si­bil­ity is to make sure the jersey is bet­ter than how you found it.”

Ire­land as­sis­tant coach Greg Feek knows ex­actly what Hansen is re­fer­ring o as he wore the All Blacks jersey 10 times as a prop and was part of the 1999 World Cup squad that lost sen­sa­tion­ally to France in the World Cup semi-final. “I re­mem­ber get­ting back af­ter the ‘99 World Cup, a few guys said what are you com­ing back here so early for be­cause we had failed. “It’s mo­ments like that where you realise the weight in terms of ex­pec­ta­tions.”

As if there wasn’t enough emo­tion sur­round­ing the game at Lans­downe Road two late great play­ers for each side will be prom­i­nent in their thoughts. Leg­endary wing Jonah Lomu was also part of that 1999 All Blacks side and the fact the an­niver­sary of his death a year ago-af­ter years of bat­tling kid­ney dis­ease-fell on the eve of the match fo­cussed a lot of the present squad’s thoughts on him.

“He was an in­spir­ing man, he went through a lot of his own per­sonal bat­tles and faced a lot of ad­ver­sity in his life away from rugby,” said sec­ond choice fly-half Aaron Cru­den.

“Hope­fully the boys use a bit of that on the field.” For the Ir­ish there will be no re­peat of form­ing the fig­ure 8 — in mem­ory of Mun­ster coach and for­mer No8 An­thony ‘Axel’ Fo­ley who died in Oc­to­ber aged 42 — like they did in Chicago as the All Blacks per­formed the haka. “Of course he will for­ever be in our minds,” said Best. —AFP

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