Steve Hansen has told the Lions not to invest any hope in the fact that Ireland beat the All Blacks 40-29 at Soldier Field in Chicago last November, bringing to an end a record run of 18 Tests without defeat.

It was Ireland's first win against New Zealand in the 111 years of fixtures between the countries, Joe Schmidt's side scoring five tries and building up a 17-point advantage by half-time before withstanding a second-half comeback.

Warren Gatland, the Lions head coach, highlighted the value of the victory when announcing his squad four weeks ago, stating that it was revealing "to see some of these world-class [All Black] players be human, make some mistakes, show some frailties - and that gives you self-belief and confidence." Hansen categorically rejected that notion.

"If the Lions are going to read too much into that, it would be a mistake," the All Blacks head coach told The Daily Telegraph.


"Because they are not Ireland, they are the Lions.

"I'm sure Gatland will come with his own style and way of wanting to play the game and that will not be the same as Joe Schmidt. It [defeat] was inevitable at some point for us. We could look at the fact that we had three top locks out and other absences too. But then we would be ignoring the inconvenient fact that we didn't play well. So, there were some good lessons in there for us."

New Zealand were fired-up for the return at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin a fortnight later, a brutal -affair in which two All Blacks, Aaron Smith and Malakai Fekitoa, were sent to the sin-bin, the latter for a high tackle on Simon Zebo, which many felt merited a red card.

Robbie Henshaw, the Ireland centre, also went off with concussion after All Black flanker Sam Cane made contact with his head.

There was outrage in Ireland at the aggressive approach taken by New Zealand as they avenged Chicago with a 21-9 win. Hansen hit back at claims that his side were -beyond the pale.

"It was a physical game but we went at Ireland no harder than they went at us," he said.

Ireland No.8 Jamie Heaslip celebrates his sides historic win against the All Blacks last November. Photo/Brett Phibbs
Ireland No.8 Jamie Heaslip celebrates his sides historic win against the All Blacks last November. Photo/Brett Phibbs

"They were pretty quick to point out what we did but no one was pointing out the stuff they did.

"In a game of rugby there are going to be some things that go the way they shouldn't go because it is a dynamic, physical, moving game. Look at the Robbie Henshaw one. Sam Cane goes in to make a tackle and the guy [Henshaw] pirouettes. It's not something that happens often so you can't anticipate it.

"Malakai's high tackle was a high tackle. Is it our fault the ref saw it [only] as a yellow card? But yet he didn't yellow card [Johnny] Sexton for taking other people's heads off. A lot was made of it all but I think it was just a really good game of Test rugby, with two teams hell-bent on playing well and going for the win."

If nothing else, the nature of New Zealand's performance showed that they have a hard edge to them.

If any felt that the Lions might be able to put them under the cosh through the physicality of their forwards, Hansen was quick to disabuse them.

"I'm confident we've got some very good rugby players up front," he said. "Because you can't win without that."

- Daily Mail