Beauden Barrett: ‘It’s not like someone’s died but it’s probably the next worst thing’
The All Blacks opened their 2022 international season with a comfortable win over northern hemisphere powerhouse Ireland at the fortress that is Eden Park.
But that triumphant victory was practically forgotten a week later. For the first time ever, the All Blacks were beaten by Ireland on New Zealand soil.
Playing at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, the All Blacks failed to overcome a slow start as they went down swinging 12-23 in the second Test. The three-match series was off to a decider.
The All Blacks had only lost a series four times on New Zealand soil, and hadn’t lost back-to-back home Tests since 1998.
But records are made to be broken. The All Blacks were outmuscled and outplayed as the Irish recorded a historic 32-22 win in Wellington.
“It’s not like someone’s died but it’s probably the next worst thing,” Beauden Barrett said on the NZR+ docuseries All Blacks: In Their Own Words. “It’s not easy but it’s not supposed to be either.”
“Picked up my son from daycare and even the daycare teacher was ripping into me,” Dane Coles added. “I couldn’t escape it.”
Ireland didn’t need to rely on luck in the series decider, they were simply the better team. New Zealand, both the team and nation, were left shocked and distraught.
Dating back to their end-of-season tour the year before, which included losses to Ireland and France, the All Blacks had lost four of their last five Tests – and as we now know, more pain was on the way.
“We had this expectation to win like the All Blacks do and we didn’t,” Ardie Savea said. “For me at that time like I was hurting, just in my heart, it was probably the right to do was to apologise.”
“We failed our mission and we fell on the wrong side of history,” playmaker Richie Mo’unga explained. “We let the country down big time.”
But the All Blacks have turned a corner this year, and appear to be tracking well ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
New Zealand have won all four of their Tests in 2023, and they’ve claimed victory in style too. Argentina, South Africa and Australia were all beaten, convincingly, by their rugby rivals.