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Ronan O'Gara On The Moment The First Test Got Away From Ireland

Ronan O'Gara On The Moment The First Test Got Away From Ireland
By Donny Mahoney Updated

It was a massively frustrating evening for Ireland against the All Blacks in Eden Park in Auckland tonight. Ireland v New Zealand was all Ireland at the outset and Ireland lead 5-0 after 10 minutes thanks to a try from Keith Earls. It was a great team try that was scored after 18 phases.

New Zealand fought back with a try from Jordie Barrett but the match was in the melting pot in the 30th minute. Ireland were encamped on the All Blacks 22, going through the phases and building momentum, when James Lowe and Garry Ringrose both slipped. Seevu Reece hooved the ball up and motored the length of the pitch to score a try.

Ireland v New Zealand: Reece try

Making matters worse, Ireland captain Johnny Sexton suffered a head injury in the play and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

When referee Karl Dickson blew for halftime eleven minutes later, Ireland trailed by 23 points and another rout in New Zealand was on.


In the Sky Sports punditry booth at halftime, La Rochelle Ronan O'Gara was joined by All Blacks legend Sean Fitzpatrick. O'Gara pinpointed the Reece try as the moment the first Ireland v New Zealand Test got away from Andy Farrell's men.

Look at the time. It's 29 minutes. It's 7-5.ย  For Ireland, to go to 12-7 here...we talk about imploding or forcing... At Test level it comes down to tiny margins. This is the perfect example of it. Ireland were probably, for myself and Sean watching the game, you could see if they were able to control the ball, they were causing fierce problems for New Zealand in their phase attack. Yet, all of a sudden, within 11 minutes, you can see why it's so difficult to win in New Zealand. In 11 minutes, its become a 23 point game. And now New Zealand have their tails up, and it's going to be an extremely difficult 40 minutes because New Zealand with confidence, New Zealand with space, New Zealand with no pressure, watch out.

Ireland's approach in the first half was brave - and perhaps, bordering on reckless, given the devastating brilliance of New Zealand with the ball in hand. There were moments in the first half where Ireland seemed intent to force an adventurous, attacking approach to the game; anti-Joe Schmidt rugby, you might say. New Zealand certainly made them pay once errors started to creep in.


Despite the scoreline, Ronan O'Gara was impressed by Ireland when they built multi-phase attack.

"There are opportunities in their phase attack, they have to get the ball into the 15 metre channel. When they play phases, they look good."

It's a silver lining but Andy Farrell will be smarting after losing this Ireland v New Zealand Test so comprehensively.


But we knew how tough it was going to be.

SEE ALSO: Looking Back At Ireland's Near Misses In New Zealand

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