Zebo: "We paid All-Blacks too much respect early on"

Zebo: "We paid All-Blacks too much respect early on"

IRELAND winger Simon Zebo felt they had paid New Zealand too much respect early on in Saturday's autumn international fixture at a sold-out Aviva Stadium.

World champions New Zealand reversed the result of their defeat to Ireland at Soldier Field, Chicago, at the start of the month when recording a hard-earned 21-9 success over Joe Schmidt's side in a bruising encounter.

Afterwards Munster winger Zebo said: “It was a hell of a game, but a tough result to take. We are judging ourselves off the best team in the world so, we can take confidence knowing that we left some opportunities out there.

“One or two mistakes cost us, but all credit to New Zealand they are a quality outfit.

“You could tell there was an extra pep in their step today. In that opening five minutes we kinda sat back a bit off them too much and gave them a bit too much respect, waiting to see what was going to happen.

“But we will learn from it and we will come back better.”

Ireland are sweating on the fitness of Munster back-rower CJ Stander for next Saturday's final autumn international against Australia at the Aviva Stadium, 5.30pm. Stander was replaced in the first half after sustaining a head injury in a tackle from New Zealand's Israel Dagg.

Meanwhile, Munster also return to action on Saturday when Treviso visit Thomond Park for a vital Guinness Pro12 fixture, 2pm.