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All-Time Classic Sees Ireland Claim Historic First Series Win In New Zealand

All-Time Classic Sees Ireland Claim Historic First Series Win In New Zealand
By Eoin Harrington
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Ireland v New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday morning was one of the biggest games in Irish rugby history. A first test defeat was followed by a historic win in the second test for Ireland, meaning they went to Wellington with the hopes of winning a test series on All Blacks soil for the first time ever.

An all-time classic game saw Ireland make history, with a 32-22 win sealing the test series win down under.

New Zealand v Ireland: Match report and highlights

Ireland make another brilliant start

It has become a recurring theme of this test series that Ireland make rapid starts. They scored early tries in the first and second tests, and the game in Wellington was no different.

Little over three minutes had passed when Ireland got a powerful maul rolling in the New Zealand 22, which allowed the perennially excellent Josh van der Flier to crash over and put five points on the board. It would remain five points, as Johnny Sexton failed to convert.


Ireland were on it in the opening phases, as New Zealand struggled to get any form of foothold in the game. James Lowe, Mack Hansen and Tadhg Beirne both had big moments early on, and Jordie Barrett's poor penalty miss was a mark of how the All Blacks were struggling.

Barrett would eventually put three points on the board as the clock ticked past 23 minutes, but the two point margin was deceptive, with Ireland in total control.

Ireland blast All Blacks in final moments of first half

Last week's win was deserved and comprehensive for Ireland, but it was by no means a pretty affair. A tactical game marked by stoppages and cards on both sides, it was lacking in free flowing rugby throughout.


Ireland's second try in Wellington was an example of what that second test was missing. Some beautiful wrap-around passing saw the ball make its way to James Lowe on the wing and a beautiful pass inside to Hugo Keenan saw the Leinster fullback through for a splendid try which put Ireland in control.

It was to get even better. A monster kick from Johnny Sexton put Ireland 15-3 ahead just after the half hour mark.

Seven minutes later, Ireland were in dream land as Robbie Henshaw went over directly under the posts, and they went in at half-time with a scarcely believable 22-3 lead.



HALF-TIME SCORE: New Zealand 3-22 Ireland

New Zealand fire back after half-time

Things were to get much more difficult for Ireland at the beginning of the second half. Having failed to offer much at all in the form of attacking threat in the first half, the All Blacks came out flying in the second.

Just as Ireland had in the first half, New Zealand got a try on the board after just three minutes of the second, with Ardie Savea getting the All Blacks back in the game.

There was controversy moments later. Last week's test saw some poor indiscipline from New Zealand, with Angus Ta'avao ultimately sent off for a head-on-head clash with Garry Ringrose.


READ HERE: Eddie Jones Gives Baffling Take On Cards Given To The All Blacks

This week's decider saw Andrew Porter escape red for a similar but subtly different offence, with Wayne Barnes opting to yellow card Porter rather than send him off. The decision did not go down well with the New Zealand crowd, but it did allow the All Blacks to get two more tries on the board and reduce the deficit to just three points.

After Akira Ioane's try had made it a one-score game, Johnny Sexton pushed the margin out to eight points with a penalty.

Sexton would hit the crossbar with another penalty from the half-way line moments later, and New Zealand responded almost instantly. A huge break from Will Jordan saw him fly past Sexton and the Irish defence, and his try saw the score down to 22-25.

Rob Herring

The moment of the match was still to come, though. With the game at a crucial turning point, Ireland desperately needed someone to step up with a moment of magic. It would eventually come from an unexpected source.

Good attacking work saw Bundee Aki get to within a few metres of the New Zealand try line and, when the All Blacks were penalised, Ireland found themselves with a line out at the five metre line. Replacement Rob Herring collected the ball at the back of the resulting maul - he would break away unexpectedly early and, with a brilliant dash and reach, score a sensational try to bring the momentum back in Ireland's direction. Sexton's resulting conversion brought Ireland's lead back to 10 points.

It was a nail-biting conclusion to the game, with Ireland holding on against relentless New Zealand pressure on the try line, but some heroics from Tadhg Beirne and the Irish defence saw them hold firm and, by the time the full-time whistle blew, Ireland were 32-22 winners.

FULL-TIME IRELAND v NEW ZEALAND: All Blacks 22-32 Ireland

New Zealand v Ireland: Player of the Match

16 July 2022; Tadhg Beirne of Ireland is tackled by Nepo Laulala and Sam Cane of New Zealand during the Steinlager Series match between the New Zealand and Ireland at Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

He was outstanding last week in Dunedin, and he was even better in Wellington on Saturday - there was no one we could go for other than the monstrousย Tadhg Beirne. The Munster man delivered two game-saving turnovers within minutes of each other in the closing stages to seal the deal for Ireland. It is a mark of how good he is that we weren't one bit surprised by his excellence on Saturday. James Lowe, Josh van der Flier, and Robbie Henshaw were all also excellent.

Click here to read our player ratings from the classic in Wellington.

New Zealand v Ireland: Final squads

New Zealand: Starting lineup

15. Jordie Barrett, 14. Will Jordan, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. David Havili, 11. Sevu Reece, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. Aaron Smith; 1. George Bower, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Scott Barrett, 7. Sam Cane (c), 8. Ardie Savea

New Zealand: Replacements

16. Dane Coles, 17. Aidan Ross, 18. Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19. Akira Ioane, 20. Dalton Papalii, 21. Folau Fakatava, 22. Richie Mo'unga, 23. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Ireland: Starting lineup

15. Hugo Keenan, 14. Mack Hanse, 13. Robbie Henshaw, 12. Bundee Aki, 11. James Lowe, 10. Johnny Sexton (c), 9. Jamison Gibson-Park; 1. Andrew Porter, 2. Dan Sheehan, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Tadhg Beirne, 5. James Ryan, 6. Peter O'Mahony, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Caelan Doris

Ireland: Replacements

16. Rob Herring, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Finlay Bealham, 19. Kieran Treadwell, 20. Jack Conan, 21. Conor Murray, 22. Joey Carbery, 23. Keith Earls

SEE ALSO: โ€œFour Million People Up For Breakfast, Probably Having A Few Pints!โ€


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