New Zealand v Ireland: Fringe players ‘put hands up’ for series decider during Maoris win – Farrell

New Zealand v Ireland: Fringe players 'put hands up' for series decider during Maoris win - Farrell

Gavin Coombes (right) scored one of Ireland’s four tries in Tuesday’s win over the Maori All Blacks

Head coach Andy Farrell has said Ireland’s fringe players staked strong claims for involvement in the series decider with New Zealand during the 30-24 win over the Maori All Blacks.

Ireland’s midweek team avenged their defeat by the Maoris a fortnight ago with a deserved victory in Wellington.

The Irish hope to seal a series win over the All Blacks in New Zealand’s capital on Saturday (08:05 BST).

“There are a lot of lads that have put their hands up,” said Farrell.

“We’ve seen people grow massively, not just as rugby players but as people, coming out of themselves within the group which is massive for us for next year.”

Ireland’s win on Tuesday in wet conditions at Sky Stadium should further boost morale after last weekend’s historic Test triumph over the All Blacks in Dunedin.

Wing Jordan Larmour claimed two of the inexperienced tourists’ four tries, with back-rowers Nick Timoney and Gavin Coombes capping impressive displays with a score apiece.

However, Farrell insisted he was more pleased with the team’s collective performance rather than any standout individual display after being well beaten by the Maori All Blacks in the tour opener in Hamilton.

Farrell added: “I was more pleased with the team performance (than individuals) because the obvious thing to learn from the first game was that some lads were pretty desperate to show everything they’ve got and they (now) understand that it’s always got to be team first and not just disciplined with the referee but disciplined in how we play the game.

“Our discipline was pretty poor in that first game and got a bit desperate at times.

“They’ve learnt a lot because it was pretty brutal out there, the conditions, it was swirling everywhere and for a young side to be able to manage their way through a game when things aren’t going right the whole time, I thought was tremendous.

“I thought they managed the game as a whole superbly well.”

Jordan Larmour
Larmour touched down in either half for Ireland

The Irish team, captained by veteran Keith Earls, responded well to Shaun Stevenson’s third-minute try with scores from Larmour and Timoney to lead 17-5 at the break.

A penalty try and superb Ruben Love score cut Ireland’s lead to 25-17 but Larmour’s second touchdown sealed the victory before Brad Weber’s late score.

Having backed up the Test win with another morale-boosting display, Farrell believes his squad are brimming with belief ahead of Saturday’s decisive Test.

“The mood’s good,” he said.

“It helps when you win a Test match obviously but the mood still would have been great anyway.

“If the boys had lost tonight, we’d have learnt and pushed forward, it’s about growing the group as we’ve talked about non-stop on this tour.

“These boys have been dying for a game for the last 13 days and for it to finally come around and them to improve and get a big W on the board is very pleasing for them going forward.

“It’s up to them and their hunger. They know what it’s all about now, they know what’s expected of them so over to them.”

Meanwhile, All Blacks prop Angus Ta’avao will miss Saturday’s Test after being handed a three-week suspension following his red card in the Dunedin game.

Ta’avao was sent off in the first half when he clattered head-first into Ireland centre Garry Ringrose’s face.

World Rugby said the sanction could be reduced to two weeks if Ta’avao completes the governing body’s coaching intervention programme.

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