All Blacks v Ireland: Older, wiser Beauden Barrett braced for Irish bounceback at Dunedin

Veteran All Blacks first-five Beauden Barrett is under no illusions what to expect from Ireland, when the two rivals clash again at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.

After winning three of their last five encounters - including the previous meeting at Dublin last November - the Irish were expected to push for a maiden victory over their hosts in New Zealand last week, but were unable to overcome the Eden Park curse on visiting teams.

Just as it was 10 years ago, when the Emerald Islanders arrived in Auckland with high hopes and left with their tails between their legs, 42-10 losers.

Barrett, 31, remembers the occasion well. Called into the national side for the first time, he would have to wait until the series' third game to make his All Blacks debut, but he was on hand to witness the Irish response to their opening setback.

Seven days later at Christchurch, the home side needed an 81st-minute drop goal from Dan Carter to avoid the draw. Barrett's counterpart, Johnathan Sexton, kicked 14 points for Ireland that night.

"It was a real arm wrestle, a ding-dong of a match," he recalls. "It was freezing cold.

"I guess that's one thing we won't get this week, a cold wet night, but we can be sure they will respond and we need to be better too."

While the 42-19 scoreline might indicate a comprehensive All Blacks display in the opener, the margin doesn't do justice to the number of opportunities Ireland created and immense defence required to keep them at bay from close range.

The visitors had two tries disallowed within seconds midway through the second half, when NZ centre Rieko Ioane twice managed to dislodge the ball, as Joey Carbery and Josh van der Flier were about to force for five-pointers.

Those squandered chances should give the tourists encouragement that their gameplan is not too far off the mark for the return meeting.

Beauden Barrett in action against Ireland 2012
Beauden Barrett in action against Ireland 2012. Photo credit: Photosport

"I'd expect them to bounce back," said Barrett. "They're a proud side and they'll raise their intent again this week, because I guess it is do-or-die for the series.

"It's on the line this week, we know they're coming and we also need to rise as well."

Traditionally, the All Blacks have worked out their early-season kinks with a build-up match against a Pacific Islands team or a 'game of three halves', but given their lack of such preparation this time round, their Eden Park performance was probably more assured than expected.

Barrett hints that losing coaching staff to COVID-19 last week may also have forced a more simplistic approach to strategy.

"We weren't cluttered," he said. "We wanted to go in feeling clear in strategy and in our game, so we could go out and play footy.

"You can overdo it in terms of detail early on, coming from Super Rugby into international footy, new combinations and so on, so we tried to keep it reasonably simple, so we could just go out there and play footy.

"I think we can build on that this week, now it's our second week at it and combinations may continue to grow, depending on selections. At least we're another week into test footy and we'd expect to be a bit sharper."

Join us at 7pm Saturday for live updates of the second All Blacks v Ireland test