Ireland claim historic victory against the All Blacks
Ireland secured a historic first home win against the All Blacks in a thrilling high-intensity match at the Aviva on Saturday evening.
Ireland’s first home win against New Zealand comes just over 2 years after they defeated the All Blacks 40-29 at Soldier Field in Chicago in their first-ever victory over the side and also 2 years since the sides last meeting at the Aviva where Ireland was beaten 21-9.
From the beginning, the match was played at an unrelenting pace, the first five minutes saw New Zealand pile on the pressure but in the tenth minute, Kieran Read strayed offside after Ireland’s first attack into the New Zealand 22 giving Johnny Sexton an east kick to give Ireland the first points of the game.
Ireland couldn’t hold on to the lead for long, and in the 16th minute, the All Blacks broke with devastating pace which ended with Rob Kearney being penalised for not releasing the ball after collecting Beauden Barrett’s kick. Barrett scored the resulting penalty to bring the Kiwis level.
Nine minute later CJ stander with the help of Cian Healy earned Ireland a five-meter scrum which would allow Sexton to find Rob Keaney with a dinked ball over the top to what he thought would be the first try of the game only for TMO to decide he had knocked it on as he gathered the ball and was brought back for the penalty which Sexton slotted home.
But again New Zealand bounced back when Barrett converted a drop kick during a New Zealand penalty advantage. In the 36th minute, Sexton converted another penalty to give Ireland the lead going into the break.
There was no shortage of standout performers for Ireland as Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Jacob Stockdale and Tadhg Furlong all stood out in a terrific team effort by the Irish. But Jacob Stockdale’s moment of individual brilliance in the 48th minute secured Ireland’s and the games only try in the 48th minute and proved to be vital as Ireland went on to secure a 16-9 win.
New Zealand began to come back into the tie as the game edged towards the 70th minute mark and in the 69th minute Barrett got a chance to kick goalwards from 44 metres after a high tackle by Sexton awarded the All Blacks a penalty which he successfully converted putting his side within seven points or a converted try of Ireland.
But Ireland was determined to win and with New Zealand approaching the 20th phase and on the edge of the Irish 22 victory came in the form of New Zealand slip up when he Retallick let a pass slip through his fingers allowing the ball to go dead and the Aviva to erupt.
Despite the victory, Ireland remains second in the World Rankings behind New Zealand but many believe Ireland can claim they are the best in the world after the game.
“Ireland can now claim to be the best team in the world after producing a stunning performance that was brave, creative and relentless. They deserved the win and with it, they deserve to be seen as world rugby’s best team even if the rankings don’t agree,” said NZ Herald’s Gregor Paul.