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McCaw: Ireland never easy

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Sportal.co.nz     12 Jun 2010     Getty Images

In 22 encounters the closest Ireland has managed is a draw in 1973.

"History means nothing when you get out on the field. No game I have had against Ireland has been easy at all, it's always been pretty physical so what happens before means nothing really," he said after his captain's run on a wind-swept, and damp, Yarrow Stadium on Friday afternoon.

What was certain was the expected lift in first five-eighths Daniel Carter's performance in the Test.

McCaw said he had detected a lift in Carter's game and he was determined to get out and direct play like he was well known for doing.

"I'm sure he's going to have a good one tomorrow. He's got a lot of guys around him helping. It's not just him, there's a few of us out there determined we don't take it on our own shoulders," he said.

Hooker Keven Mealamu would have an important role in the tight with one prop on debut and the other with only three Tests. Mealamu's experience in the tighter situations in lineouts and scrums would be invaluable.

"He's played 70-odd Tests now so he's been through a fair bit and he's a good man to have there," McCaw said.

New Zealand would be respectful of the Irish, especially their outside backs who if they, with ball in hand, were able to find space, were well capable of hurting New Zealand's defence on the counter attack.

"You saw that in the Six Nations when they got on the front foot and got good front foot ball they played a pretty good game," he said.

McCaw was asked by a visiting journalist if the lack of success for British and Irish sides in New Zealand would mean a lack of motivation for the All Blacks.

That wouldn't be the case, McCaw said. The New Zealand sides in the Super 14 had struggled this year and there were several guys in the side who felt they hadn't played the style they were after and it was almost a case of starting the season again to get it right with the All Blacks.

Players were continually playing for their spots in the side and that would be a key factor for New Zealand, he said.

"There's always pressure to perform when you play for the All Blacks," he said.

"That's the way I approach it. Every time I go out there I've got to do my bit for the team and as long as the team does well and I've done my bit that's okay. Whether that is pressure I don't know but it's exciting and that's what I love," he said.

McCaw was inevitably asked his reaction to news of former league star Sonny Bill Williams' signing with New Zealand and he said it was good because Williams appeared a driven player who was quite an athlete.

"It will be really interesting to see how he gets on," he said.

With all the signs pointing to Williams making a connection with the Crusaders for next year's Super 15, McCaw said if he did end up in his team for the competition it would be great.