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Ireland v New Zealand preview (Saturday, Aviva Stadium)

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Stephen Ferris insists Ireland are convinced they can make history against New Zealand to salvage the pride battered by a miserable year

The Aviva Stadium will host the 24th meeting between the rivals on Saturday in a fixture that has been unkind to Ireland since it was first contested in 1905.

A solitary draw in 1973 is the only time they have avoided finishing on the losing side against the grand slam-chasing All Blacks.

England and Scotland have already fallen to the Tri-Nations champions, who are firm favourites to continue their victory march through Dublin.

In contrast, Ireland have struggled alarmingly this year, losing seven out of 11 matches and looking unconvincing in last Saturday’s 20-10 win against Samoa.

But Ferris, the powerful Ulster back row, believes a few minor adjustments will see the tide turn.

"We believe we can play New Zealand week in, week out and beat them," he said.

"That’s the spirit of the Irish team. We have proved we are a world class team over the last couple of years.

"We have a few results in the last few months that haven’t gone our way. We just need to beat somebody like New Zealand to show the world we are capable of mixing it with the best.

"This Ireland team has come a lot further in the past two years. We just need to hold onto the ball and get our set-piece firing, then we are a completely different side."

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Ireland v New Zealand preview (Saturday, Aviva Stadium)

Stephen Ferris insists Ireland are convinced they can make history against New Zealand to salvage the pride battered by a miserable year.

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