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The “Big Game” of 2016 will occur this Saturday, November 19, when the All Blacks play Ireland in Aviva Stadium Dublin. This is the mush anticipated rematch of the earlier contest in Chicago when the Irish upset World Rugby’s number one ranked fifteen that had won 18 games in a row.
It marked the first ever Irish win since 1905, making the new tally 1-1-27 against the All Blacks.
Admittedly, there were factors on and off the field that contributed to this surprise victory. Ireland were still mourning the legend Anthony Foley, and his memory lifted spirits. The Chicago Cubs World Series victory after 108-years still hovered over the city, a reminder that sports miracles can happen.
The game went Ireland’s way from the first whistle to the final one. Two tries while an All Black sat in the sin bin. Almost all ball bounces ending up in Irish hands. And, most of all, an Irish XV that realized they could win…and then did.
Want to attend the match? It will cost you $675 to buy a ticket.
The rugby pundits predict a change of All Black strategy to counter the fast moving Irish running game. This will be accomplished by significantly more kicking ahead with dinks, grubbers, and cross-kicks, which the All Blacks tested successfully in last week’s rout of Italy in Rome.
Could the Irish win two in a row against New Zealand? Historically, this has rarely happened, and a smart money wager is on the All Blacks to triumph.