Ryan: Time to write our own history
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Ireland lock Donnacha Ryan says his teammates are determined to write their own piece of history as they attempt to upset the All Blacks at Chicago's Soldier Field this weekend.
The 32-year-old Munster forward will pack down against New Zealand for the fifth time of his career on Saturday, all too aware of the fact that Ireland have never beaten the All Blacks in 111 years of trying.
But Ryan, who will partner Devin Toner in the second row this weekend, said the Irish were not allowing themselves to be weighed down by a losing streak that stretches back to 1905.
"A lot has happened since then - two World Wars, lot of other stuff," Ryan told reporters.
"At the end of the day, from our point of view, we have got to narrow our focus on our own jobs. It is a novelty to us being here.
"Bringing up history is great but from our point of view, creating our own history is the ultimate challenge.
"That determines our mindset leading into the game."
Ireland's trip to the Windy City for the one-off Test comes as the Chicago Cubs' celebrate victory in the World Series, the long-suffering baseball team's first since 1908.
"What happened here in the city was amazing," Ryan said. "I am still sorting out the jetlag but it was great to see it. I wouldn't be overly familiar with baseball in general but the atmosphere around the street was brilliant."
The buoyant mood in Chicago is not distracting Ryan and his Ireland teammates from the task in hand, however.
Ryan still carries the scars from Ireland's 2012 tour to New Zealand, when a three-Test series concluded with a brutal 60-0 defeat in Hamilton.
The fact that the third Test mauling arrived after Ireland had only been beaten 22-19 a week earlier in Christchurch serves as a reminder of how quickly a gameplan can unravel against the All Blacks.
"We tried so hard that night and got nothing out of it," Ryan recalled. "Looking at the game over and over again, the harder we tried, the worse it got.
"That is just the type of team they are, their philosophy on how they play the game and everything.
"It just goes to show you need to be on top of your game and on your detail."