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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 13:45 GMT
Kyle dreams of Kiwi defeat
BBC Sport Online's Jim Stokes talks to Ireland's legendary fly-half Jack Kyle ahead of Saturday's match against the All Blacks.
Despite his 76 years, Jack Kyle still looks as if he could dance around most rugby defences.
Capped 46 times for Ireland, Kyle is now back in Ulster after 35 years working as a doctor in Zambia.
Kyle, arguably Ireland's greatest player, now lives in County Down and is looking forward to Saturday's Ireland v New Zealand match at Dublin.
''New Zealand play a hard game, but never a dirty one,'' said Kyle.
''They were tough opponents, and very hard to beat.
''But one of the most amazing things about their success is the size of New Zealand.
"You are not talking about a massive population, maybe just three of four million people.
''Yet they produce magnificent rugby sides."
Kyle is no stranger to the All Blacks' quality, having come up against one of the best New Zealand sides of all-time on the 1950 Lions tour.
Having drawn the first Test and narrowly lost the second, the Lions went into the final game in Auckland confident of success.
''We felt good, and we even felt that the New Zealand public were behind us as we played good open rugby which thrilled the crowds.
''Unfortunately, we came up against someone by the name of Bob Scott.
''He was one of the great full-backs, and he dropped a goal, kicked a penalty and converted the only try of the game in which they won 11-9.
''So without doubt he stands out in my memory as being a wonderful All Blacks player.
''There were others, of course. I remember one very good centre called Roy Roper who was a brilliant player."
Despite New Zealand's intimidating pedigree, Kyle believes Ireland can record their first ever win over the mighty All Blacks on Saturday.
''Well, if ever Ireland had a chance, you are talking about it now," he said.
''The All Blacks will not give in easily, as we know from past experiences,
''But Ireland had a solid victory over Samoa, and victory over England, while unexpected, was exceptional and will give the team heart.
''New Zealand are not reckoned at this time as one of the great teams, and they travel with a new coach and new players.
''With that in mind, Ireland have a great chance to win and finally break that duck."
Kyle is excited by the present Ireland line-up, particularly the two men currently fighting it out to wear the number 10 jersey.
''We are very fortunate in Ireland to have Ronan O'Gara and David Humphreys.
''One can put pressure on the other for a place in the team, which has a positive spin-off.
''Both are good kickers, while Humphreys is a very good tactical player.
''O'Gara had a splendid game against Samoa, and of course, Humphreys was excellent against England."
Kyle, like Humphreys, first burst onto the Irish rugby scene at Belfast's Queen's University.
And he is now helping his alma mater's bid to return to senior rugby by adding his name and support to the university's bursary scheme.
''I am a great believer in university rugby, it has a lot going for it," he said.
''At present we are taking steps to get Queen's back into senior rugby again.
''We are not trying to compete with clubs who are offering salaries, which in the past has seen universities lose top players.
''Like other universities in Ireland, Queen's offer bursaries.
''University rugby is something special. You make friends there that will be with you for life.
'I would encourage anybody to go to Queen's, they are definitely on the up now.''
Queen's have a long list of graduates who have gone on to star on the international rugby stage - Davy Hewitt, Noel Henderson, Roger Young, David Irwin, Nigel Carr, Harry Steele and Philip Matthews to name just a few.
But against the All Blacks the only ex-Queen's players involved will be Humphreys and substitute Gary Longwell - and they both left a decade ago.
With the advent of the new bursary scheme, Kyle is confident we will see another former Queen's man in the green jersey in the near future.
In the meantime, he will settle for an Irish victory on Saturday.
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