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New Zealand v Ireland 42-19: Match Report And Highlights

New Zealand v Ireland 42-19: Match Report And Highlights
By Eoin Harrington Updated

The New Zealand v Ireland test series was one of the most hotly anticipated in recent years in rugby. In the opening test in Auckland on Saturday, New Zealand ran out comprehensive winners by 42-19.

It was a surprising result, given recent form suggested that the teams were far more closely matched. Travelling to Eden Park was always going to be a daunting task for Ireland, given the All Blacks have not lost at the ground in 28 years. Nonetheless, the 42-19 scoreline will be a shock for Ireland coach Andy Farrell and his team.

In truth, the 23-point margin was a harsh reflection on Ireland's performance, but lapses from the Irish team allowed the clinical All Blacks to stamp their authority on the game.

It was a big statement win from New Zealand, who responded with vigour to Ireland's win in the November series.

Early Keith Earls try puts Ireland in ascendancy in Auckland

Ireland made a terrific start in Auckland. After a brief period of early New Zealand pressure, Ireland took control of the ball and put together some fantastic attacking play to find themselves on the All Blacks line.

After 18 phases of passing and some close calls for Dan Sheehan, veteran wing Keith Earls did fantastically well to wiggle his way past Jordie Barrett in the corner and get Ireland's first try of the evening in style.

Despite a missed conversion from Johnny Sexton, Ireland looked in control at Eden Park, and they continued to keep control of the opening stages.

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Andy Farrell's fast paced game appeared to have Ireland in the ascendancy, but there were minor wins for New Zealand and, as the game reached the 20-minute mark, the All Blacks were to force themselves ahead.

Jordie Barrett try puts New Zealand ahead after 20 minutes

All three Barrett brothers started for the All Blacks on Saturday morning, and it was fullback Jordie who got New Zealand's first score after 20 minutes.

Leicester Faingaโ€™anuku barrelled towards the line before a last-ditch tackle prevented him from scoring on his All Blacks debut. Quick ball from New Zealand, however, gave Jordie Barrett space to attack the line from five metres out, and he did brilliantly to force his way over.

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When his brother Beauden converted the try, New Zealand were 7-5 up.

Johnny Sexton forced off after half an hour through injury

Things were to go from bad to worse for Ireland. On the half hour mark, Andy Farrell's side were piling on the pressure in the New Zealand 22, when a wayward Garry Ringrose pass was missed by James Lowe, and Sevu Reece intercepted to run the length of the pitch and extend the All Blacks' lead.

What was worse was mere seconds later, Ireland captain and talisman Johnny Sexton was forced off for a HIA, with Joey Carbery replacing him. Sexton would not return to the pitch and, due to new HIA protocols, he will also miss the second test next Saturday.

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2 July 2022; Jonathan Sexton of Ireland leaves the field with an injury during the Steinlager Series match between the New Zealand and Ireland at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Despite having been the better team for the best part of half an hour, Ireland found themselves behind in a two-score game, and they were to implode in the closing stages of the second half.

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Ireland lose the head and New Zealand take a 23 point lead in at half-time

Despite the margin between the teams, Ireland should have taken encouragement from their play in the opening stages of the game in Auckland but they appeared to be shaken by the try from Reece.

In the final ten minutes of the first half, Ireland's play became erratic, with the defence found out of shape and sloppy mistakes made whenever they managed to get ball in hand. Such mistakes would leave you scrapping in any test match, let alone an away test in Eden Park.

New Zealand made the most of Ireland's wobble, and ruthlessly put two more tries on the board before half time to stretch the lead to 28-5 at half time. The margin was extraordinary given Ireland had started the game so well, but the clinical nature of the All Blacks' play meant the lead was deserved at the break.

The highlight of New Zealand's play was a sumptuous try for Quinn Tupaea after a perfectly judged grubber kick from Beauden Barrett.

Ruthless New Zealand crush promising Irish start to second half

Ireland came out for the second half knowing they would need a miracle if they were to become the first visiting team to win at Eden Park in 28 years.

They got the second half off to a good start, as Garry Ringrose managed to find a pocket of space in the corner and touched down for a try inside the first five minutes of the second half. A beautifully struck conversion from Joey Carbery gave Ireland a glimmer of hope that they could, at least, keep in touch with the All Blacks.

Ardie Savea, however, would get his second try of the game moments later to once again stretch New Zealand's advantage to 23, and Ireland were left with an even tougher mountain to climb.

Ireland's play once again impressed in the second half, and they could have had two tries in quick succession were it not for the defensive brilliance of Rieko Ioane.

New Zealand's 13 made a brilliant last ditch tackle to slow Joey Carbery and force the Irish outhalf into dropping the ball on the line on 58 minutes, preventing a try which would have given Ireland the faintest of hope. Referee Karl Dickson went back for an Irish penalty and, from the resulting play, Ioane's tackle forced a knock on from Josh van der Flier as he went over for a try, meaning Ireland came away with nothing from their pressure in the All Blacks 22.

Another try was to follow from New Zealand replacement Pita Gus Sowakula, before Bundee Aki scored Ireland's third late on. The try from Aki was nothing but a consolation, however, and the All Blacks would ultimately run out comprehensive 42-19 winners.

Ireland were much better than the winning margin for the All Blacks suggested. They were unfortunate not to get at least one more try on the board, and had a great share both of possession and territory.

But their loss of composure late in the second half was their own downfall and, when playing at test level against a side of New Zealand's calibre, such lapses cannot be allowed.

2 July 2022; Ireland players, from left, Caelan Doris, Jonathan Sexton of Ireland and Tom Oย’Toole on the bench during the Steinlager Series match between the New Zealand and Ireland at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The first test was certainly a disappointment for Ireland after the prolonged buildup, and they will hope to, at the very least, keep things closer in the second test next Saturday.

New Zealand v Ireland: Player of the match

On a difficult night in Auckland,ย Peter O'Mahonyย was Ireland's standout player, and showed plenty of fight when the going got tough for the Boys in Green.

Read our full player ratings right here.

2 July 2022; Peter O'Mahony of Ireland is tackled by Ardie Savea and Sevu Reece of New Zealand during the Steinlager Series match between the New Zealand and Ireland at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

New Zealand v Ireland: Final squads

New Zealand: Starting Lineup

15. Jordie Barrett, 14. Sevu Reece, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. Quinn Tupaea, 11. Leicester Faingaโ€™anuku, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. Aaron Smith; 1. George Bower, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Scott Barrett, 7. Sam Cane, 8. Ardie Savea

New Zealand: Replacements

16. Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17. Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18. Angus Ta'avao, 19. Pita Gus Sowakula, 20. Dalton Papalii, 21. Finlay Christie, 22. Richie Mo'unga, 23. Braydon Ennor

Ireland: Starting Lineup

15. Hugo Keenan, 14. Keith Earls, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. James Lowe, 10. Johnny Sexton, 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. Dave Heffernan, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Tom O'Toole, 19. Kieran Treadwell, 20. Jack Conan, 21. Conor Murray, 22. Joey Carbery, 23. Bundee Aki

NEXT GAME IN THE SERIES:ย New Zealand v Ireland, Dunedin, Saturday July 9th, 8:05am

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

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