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How New Zealand media reacted to humbling of Ireland

By Stefan Frost
Jordie Barrett, New Zealand vs Ireland at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand 2 July 2022. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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The New Zealand rugby media was left pretty satisfied after their nation exacted revenge on Ireland, comfortably beating the northern hemisphere side 42-19 at Eden Park.

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Andy Farrell’s men came into the fixture as Six Nations runners up and had beaten the All Blacks 29-20 in the previous 2021 Autumn Nations Series. However, after losing to the Maori All Blacks and then the senior team, Ireland are now the ones having to face stern questions.

The New Zealand Herald’s Liam Napier honed in on the problems percolating around the men in green.

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“Often the All Blacks’ nemesis in recent years, having won three of their previous five tests, Ireland gradually disintegrated in front of a 48,195-strong crowd.

“As the match wore, and the All Blacks’ dominance grew, Ireland’s frustration became clear. By the finish, the notion that Ireland are a different beast at home rung true.”

Ireland ended their winless run against the All Blacks, spanning over a century, in 2016 at Soldier Field in Chicago. It was not to be an isolated incident, as they followed it up with another two wins at the Aviva Stadium in 2018 and 2021. However, Napier thinks the chances of similar results falling this summer are slim.

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“As the losses mount — this defeat coming after the midweek humbling by New Zealand Maori in Hamilton — and troops continue to drop, Ireland’s tour is fast descending into treacherous territory.”

Gregor Paul, also writing for the New Zealand Herald, pointed towards the strengths of the visitors.

“Ireland weren’t so far behind the All Blacks in the core facets of winning the ball and the collisions,” he said. “But they were light years behind in being able to sniff and exploit even a half-chance and the ability of the All Blacks to pounce on counterattack and sense where an opponent is weak remains the gift that they alone possess.

“There was prematch talk of the All Blacks being in terminal decline, but they continue to be blessed with the sharpest instincts in world rugby and the difference between the two teams came down to their respective ability to convert pressure into points. It was here that the All Blacks were lethal.”

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Marc Hinton, senior sports writer with the Dominion Post newspaper, chose to pay tribute to the impressive performance of New Zealand’s pack, who he thought helped determine the result.

“Unusual week, unreal response,” he wrote. “The All Blacks were challenged on multiple fronts before this test but their answer on Saturday night at Eden Park was pure class. Not so much a crisis averted as smashed into the ether.

“In Dublin they’d sand kicked in their faces. At Eden Park, as their 28-year unbeaten run continued, the All Blacks walked off with smiles on their dials.”

Patrick McKendry, the digital sports reporter for 1News, was particularly complementary of Ardie Savea’s solo try which extended New Zealand’s lead early in the second half.

Ardie Savea with Quinn Tupaea, New Zealand vs Ireland at Eden Park on July 02, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

“Ardie Savea displayed what can happen when this side combines intelligent pre-match analysis with a skillset that is perhaps beyond most Northern Hemisphere forwards,” he noted.

“We’re talking of course about Savea’s second try, an individual effort in which he ran an outside line to beat Ireland centre Garry Ringrose and then cut back to beat at least two more would-be defenders. The audacity would be beyond most loosies, never mind the ability.”

The only negative tint that appeared in the media was from Robert van Royen who, writing on the Stuff website, warned that that New Zealand flanker Scott Barrett was fortunate to avoid sanction for charging Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony in the head at the base of a ruck.

“Head coach Foster’s biggest concern in the wash-up should be the prospect of receiving news Barrett is cited for his clean out,” he argued. “Nobody should need reminding that Barrett has form and should the citing commissioner deem it warranted a red card, he can expect a lengthy spell on the sidelines,” van Royen continued.

He made this point after Barrett saw red in April for the Crusaders and suffered an initial four-week suspension as a result. Van Royen went on to give consolation points to Ireland for showing signs of menace in the opening exchanges.

“Ireland offered more than many visitors to these shores have at this time of year have, especially in the opening 20 minutes, while the All Blacks’ finish to the first half was them at their clinical best.”

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