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Billy Stickland
Thomond Park Graduates in Eden Park
6 June 2012, 9:07 am
By The Editor
"During our last trip to Ireland - specifically Munster - I spent a good hour under the silver blanket after fulltime on the verge of hypothermia".
That was Wallaby centre Pat McCabe speaking after the game at the weekend when his side were beaten by Scotland in conditions not dissimilar to those he experienced in Thomond Park Stadium. "While there weren't many people at Hunter Stadium in shorts and thongs, it's not the worst weather I've seen." he said. "During our last trip to Ireland - specifically Munster - I spent a good hour under the silver blanket after fulltime on the verge of hypothermia.

"The Scots played tight, their defence was fantastic and we weren't ruthless enough. If we go looking for excuses then I'm sure we'll find them, but the reality is we should have beaten Scotland on Tuesday night."

The other reality is that he probably thought the same thing after that November 2010 defeat in Limerick when Munster, engineered a 15-6 win over the touring side.

The Munster side that night, captained by James Coughlan, included four players, Keith Earls, Conor Murray, Mike Sherry and Peter O'Mahony who are today with the Ireland squad preparing for the first test against the All Blacks in Eden Park tomorrow.

Earls of course by then was something of a, if not quite veteran, then a seasoned professional but O'Mahony's five appearances up to then had been off the bench, Sherry had five caps as a replacement to his credit while Murray was winning his first cap off the bench that night.

Tomorrow Earls will don the Irish jersey for the 31st time albeit in the less than usual inside centre role. O'Mahony gets his 5th cap, Murray his 10th and it's only a question of when for Sherry.

Ireland v New Zealand, Steinlager Series, Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday, June 9, kick-off 8.35am Irish time.

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