Rugby World Cup 2019: Joe Schmidt says Ireland have lost the element of surprise against the All Blacks

The Rugby World Cup ends for either Steve Hansen or Joe Schmidt on Saturday, with a scenario neither wanted this early on in the tournament.

So you can imagine the texts exchanged between the Kiwi coaches were nothing short of awkward, after Japan's win over Scotland set up an early quarter-final date between Ireland and the All Blacks.

"We were just wishing each other luck," Schmidt said, with a laugh on Thursday.  

"[I'm] not that happy we're seeing each other this early, but it is one of those things… we look forward to catching up and then we'll both sit nervously in the coaches' boxes."

Their long-standing friendship will count for nothing on Saturday night, with the result set to ruin the fairytale bow-out for either one of the departing coaches.

Schmidt's laid faith in 12 of the starters from his side's 16-9 win over the All Blacks in November. Both halfback Conor Murray and second-five Robbie Henshaw are ready to take their shot at the All Blacks, after both were absent in Dublin, while lock Iain Henderson gets a start. 

"The unfortunate thing about any 23 you select for the All Blacks is that they can play very well and still not get the result," Schmidt added. 

Ireland have had the result twice in the last three years and while they're sure to have plenty of confidence after both encounters, Schmidt conceded they have lost an element of surprise.

"We're certainly not going to sneak up on them anymore. They are well aware of how we play and what they are going to do to combat that." 

Rugby World Cup 2019: Joe Schmidt says Ireland have lost the element of surprise against the All Blacks

It helps that the All Blacks have the likes of defence coach Scott MacLeod, who spent three days in the Ireland camp in the earlier days of his career.

"Those are the tight circles rugby works in," Schmidt admitted. "I've no doubt they've got a few things cooked up that we haven't seen before, that we're going to find really challenging."

Yet Ireland has another Kiwi connection of its own - assistant coach and former All Black Greg Feek.

The scrum coach, who was recently credited for turning around Ireland's set-piece, also offered Hansen plenty of praise, after the pair spent time together in Canterbury.

"Now he's a bit of a legend of the game. It's good to see his success and how well he's gone, but hopefully that won't continue this week."

Ireland: 1-Cian Healy, 2-Rory Best, 3-Tadhg Furlong, 4-Iain Henderson. 5-James Ryan, 6-Peter O'Mahony, 7-Josh van der Flier, 8-CJ Stander, 9-Conor Murray, 10-Johnny Sexton, 11-Jacob Stockdale, 12-Robbie Henshaw, 13-Garry Ringrose, 14-Keith Earls, 15-Rob Kearney

Reserves: 16-Niall Scannell, 17-Dave Kilcoyne, 18-Andrew Porter, 19-Tadhg Beirne, 20-Rhys Ruddock, 21-Luke McGrath, 22-Joey Carbery, 23-Jordan Larmour.

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

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The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 11:15pm Saturday for live updates of for the All Blacks v Ireland Rugby World Cup quarter-final.