Kiwi wrap (Tues) brings you the latest news from New Zealand’s year-end tour.

Howlett rates Ireland chances

Former All Blacks winger Doug Howlett believes New Zealand could be in for a tough Test at Croke Park.

Howlett, who now plays his club rugby for Munster, believes Ireland could spring an upset – if they play to their full potential.

“Ireland have a good chance against the All Blacks,” said Howlett. “I know in the All Blacks camp there will be a little bit of concern if Ireland turn up to play. That is the big question of course – if Ireland turn up.

“Ireland have world-class players in their team and if they play to their ability, it’s going be a tough game for the All Blacks. If the Irish players play to their ability it’s going to be some game to watch.”

Howlett, who won the Heineken Cup with Munster back in May, will go up against his former teammates when the All Blacks face the Irish club outfit next Wednesday at Thomond Park.

The game commemorates the 30th anniversary of Munster’s famous 12-0 victory over New Zealand in 1978.

All Blacks slammed by Irish press

The Irish Independent’s Vincent Hogan has launched a scathing attack on the All Blacks ahead of their clash with Ireland this Saturday.

Hogan admitted he was “not a fan” of the All Blacks, their haka and coach Graham Henry and believes New Zealand are universally unpopular.

“Outside their own country, few people love the All Blacks,” Hogan said in his column. “Their victories are, by and large, statements of power.

“They smash teams and then run a bus over the bodies. They play through a vaguely malignant strain of intimidation.

“So seeing them get nailed is one of rugby’s great redemptive offerings. It’s like watching the school ruffian pick the wrong fight and end up with a nosebleed.”

Hogan attacked the haka by claiming it was a “leery war dance” that should be banned and claimed the “dour, hubristic and adversarial” Henry epitomised the team he coached.

More to follow …