All Blacks aspiring to match Springboks-Ireland Rugby World Cup level

All Blacks aspiring to match Springboks-Ireland Rugby World Cup level

New Zealand defence coach Scott McLeod has admitted the level witnessed in the Rugby World Cup Pool B clash between South Africa and Ireland is one they aspire to.

The Springboks and Ireland clashed in a high-intensity affair in Paris on Saturday evening, when the world number-one ranked side came out victorious over the defending world champions.

With the All Blacks having enjoyed a weekend 'off', McLeod acknowledged the fixture set a benchmark for the level required to go all the way at the showpiece in France.

"I was hugely impressed with the intensity of the game. Set-piece pressure was huge from both sides," the former All Black told the media on Monday.

"The defence and the movement and the collisions, for as long as it was, was immense. A lot of us were really impressed with watching that game. It's definitely the standard.

"That's what impressed me the most – the speed of play, but the collisions were clean. They were very clean and accurate, there was no infringing around that area. 

"And that's a bloody hard thing to do at that speed, with those collisions and bodies flying everywhere, and both teams did that very, very well.

“The players also got a feel of where they need to be if they are to unseat the Boks or overcome Ireland, who they are now likely to face in the quarter-finals.

"It definitely gets them [players] buzzing. They can see it and they can feel it at that speed. It's not something we've talked about as a group at all but the players have seen it and they've talked about it amongst themselves," McLeod added.

"There is a buzz that excites them. That's the level they want to play at."

The 50-year-old further has no doubt the Kiwis can emulate such a performance as they build towards the knockout stage, with a clash against Italy on Friday evening.

"Absolutely. We tested that a little bit last week. We got into each other and today we trained at pace," he noted.

"And we are just trying to keep healthy. So we are trying to balance that, between healthy athletes and training at that intensity and speed."