Mils Muliaina dedicated his performance against the Irish to his ill child back at home.
Muliaina missed the first two Tests of the tour against Australia and Scotland due to the birth of his son Max. Muliaina junior is battling a heart condition and his father said knowing what was going on back in New Zealand inspired him to a commanding performance in New Zealand’s 22-3 win over Ireland.
“I was really keen to get out there,” said Muliaina. “Given what I have left at home I just didn’t want that to be an excuse. I just went out there and tried to play for my family and the guys. I felt really good so I’m pleased.”
The All Black fullback added that his wife Hayley was doing well under the circumstances. “She is coping really well which is making things over here a lot easier.”
Kiwi backline coach Wayne Smith commended Muliaina for his bravery.
“I’m just amazed with Mils’ display considering the little rugby he has had,” said Smith. “He was obviously playing for little Max and Hayley.”
Talking about the victory at Croke Park, Muliaina praised the work of his team-mates in shutting down Irish pivot Ronan O’Gara.
“We positioned ourselves really well,” said Muliaina. “I think you have to give credit to the guys who put a lot of pressure on Ronan O’Gara when he kicked tonight.
“Siti went really well and we all know that when he is on his game fit and well he can be a lethal weapon.
“I think it’s looking really good. The way we wanted to attack this game was where we thought there were opportunities to go wide and then go wide again - we scored off that.
“But all in all it’s been a massive week. There has been a lot of emotion with playing here for the first time and things like that.”