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The Mightily Relieved New Zealand Media Reaction To Beating Ireland

The Mightily Relieved New Zealand Media Reaction To Beating Ireland
Conall Cahill
By Conall Cahill
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The New Zealand media reaction to the All Blacks emerging from Dublin with a hard-fought win over Ireland by 21 points to 9.

New Zealand will fly out of Dublin mightily relieved after securing a win against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. It perhaps showed how much Ireland rattled the All Blacks in Steve Hansen's fairly ratty interview with RTE after the match. Nevertheless a lack of ruthlessness in attack came back to haunt the Irish who failed to score a try - and this was their undoing.

Chris Rattue, 'New Zealand Herald': Sean O'Brien was "scarcely believable" 

Chris Rattue of the New Zealand Herald  says that Hansen has been "blinded by reputation" in continuing to pick Aaron Smith at scrum-half after the 'toilet sex' debacle he found himself embroiled in and which got him briefly sent home from the All Blacks panel:

Steve Hansen has already been blinded by reputation on one score, retaining Aaron Smith despite the little halfback's mojo departing many weeks ago at the Christchurch airport.

It is now clear that it was a mistake to take Smith on tour, post toilet tryst, with terrible performances against Ireland wrecking his reputation as the best halfback and perhaps even the best player in the game.

And Rattue also thinks that Hansen has made a mistake with his retention of captain Kieran Read at number 8, with Read "going backwards at a disturbing rate".

He also had great praise for Sean O'Brien and his fellow forwards and contrasted the performance of the Irish backs with that of their forwards:


As the Irish loose forwards in particular went on a stampede, the All Black pack could only cling on. There was spirited resistance from young loose forwards Ardie Savea and Liam Squire, and Brodie Retallick put in a decent shift. But the repeated charges from the scarcely believable Sean O'Brien aided by Jamie Heaslip, CJ Stander and Josh van der Flier served to emphasise that Read is tiring. Heaslip trampled right over his fellow veteran Read on one occasion.

The All Blacks won't keep escaping situations like this. The Irish forwards should be furious at the incompetence of their backline. Ireland's forwards had the All Blacks on the ropes, but their backs couldn't land any blows.

Justin Marshall, 'New Zealand Herald': "How the hell did we win that?"

Former All Black Justin Marshall reflects on the simply untouchable performance of fly-half Beauden Barrett and raises the question, "Take Beauden Barrett out of that test match and do the All Blacks still win?"


In short, Barrett offered the X-factor that Ireland didn't have.

The cool-headed No. 10 wasn't the sole reason we won but he had damn big say in the final scoreline.


Marshall said he was "often confused over what (Ireland) were trying to achieve":


There were times when they had the All Blacks on the ropes but left points on the field by taking the soft option.

They played very well, no doubt about that. Their domination of possession and territory, and just about every other stat that wins a game, underlined that.

But they weren't as smart and savvy as they were in Chicago and it cost them.

He also had words of praise for O'Brien:

I've been in All Blacks dressing rooms, particularly earlier in my career, where I've sat down after a test and gone: 'How the hell did we win that?"

I think there would have been a similar feeling among the guys today.

Twenty odd missed tackles is a lot. And it was disconcerting to see one Irish prop brush off three would-be All Blacks tacklers and O'Brien do the same.

But when tackles had to be made, they were made. When the scrum had to hold, it did. When the lineout had to be won, it was.

Richard Knowler, 'stuff.co.nz': New Zealand unleash "angry Irish hornets"

Knowler, writing for 'stuff.co.nz', says New Zealand will be glad to get out of Dublin and head to Paris to play France after the furious Irish reaction to what many Irish fans saw as cynical play by the All Blacks.


Being in France would have other benefits.

The All Blacks peeled the lid off a bucket of angry hornets when Ireland midfielder Robbie Henshaw had to be stretchered off the park because of a high tackle by Cane.

While Irish fans raged against the referee Jaco Peyper after the game, Knowler writes that Peyper had been "heavily favouring Ireland in the penalty count". There was the sense in Knowler's piece that New Zealanders were keenly aware of the negative reception their side's play received.

Being based in France, away from the Anglo-Saxon wordsmiths and talking heads, means the All Blacks shouldn't be dogged by the subject as they prepare for their tour finale against France.

With just 80 minutes remaining in their year, the All Blacks know that whatever happens in Paris they can still pack up and go home and forget about footy for a while.

But they still should be careful over the coming week, because the high tackles by Cane and Fekitoa haven't been received at all well.

Hamish Bidwell, 'stuff.co.nz': A few hard hits? "Boo hoo"

Bidwell isn't having any of the criticism of New Zealand's hits on Irish players, implying that much of the criticism is perhaps borne out of jealousy at the sheer quality of the All Blacks:

The All Blacks have won and few people beyond New Zealand's shores like them because the cheat and whinge and are just too bloody good.

You can dice it up any way you like, but New Zealand 21 Ireland 9 was pretty decisive. Ireland are a decent side, but hardly a great one. They deserved to beat the All Blacks in Chicago but this Dublin performance wasn't a good one.

Look, it's a shame that Ireland's Robbie Henshaw was an early casualty, but the shot put on him by Sam Cane was entirely fair. What it did, though, was inflame a few passions - not least in the crowd - and create an environment where any heavy contact from an All Blacks player was going to be unpopular.

Boo hoo.

He went on to write that "international sport is not about moral victories or fair play awards." And some of his comments had a vaguely demeaning tone to them if reading them with Irish eyes:

You beat someone once in 111 years and you think you can start calling the shots.


SEE ALSO: Analysis: Ireland Not Ruthless Enough In Attack To Overturn Huge All Blacks Charge

SEE ALSO: Steve Hansen Gave An Extremely Spiky Post-Game Interview To RTE

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