Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
World World

'Lost his spark': All Blacks' Crusader contingent under spotlight

By Sam Smith
(Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Trending on RugbyPass

More News More News

The All Blacks third defeat to Ireland over the last five years was a thoroughly deserved 29-20 victory, forcing the visitors into a heavy defensive workload that ultimately couldn’t prevent the home side from taking ascendency.


In the first half the hosts had a try to Tadhg Furlong rubbed out that would have given them a 10-3 lead after ex-pat wing James Lowe opened the scoring with a try in the corner. Ireland persisted with kicking to the corner and did so again on the stroke of halftime but another possession went begging.

The All Blacks held on to a 10-5 halftime lead but had less than 30 per cent possession and territory as wave after wave of attack pushed them to the brink.

Video Spacer

All Access with Morne Steyn
Video Spacer
All Access with Morne Steyn

The second half was all Ireland as they stormed right back into the lead less than five minutes after the restart. Their attack rolled the All Blacks down to the five metre line before hooker Ronan Kelleher crashed over, before flanker Caelan Doris scored again five minutes later.

They never relinquished the lead after that, keeping the All Blacks at arm’s length despite a brilliant try to Will Jordan.

The nature of the loss, where the All Blacks were unquestionably outclassed and struggled to find answers, put a spotlight on the selections that Foster has persisted with, notably a large swathe of Crusaders like Codie Taylor, David Havili, Richie Mo’unga and Sevu Reece.

Starting first five Beauden Barrett was forced from the field midway through the first half, giving Richie Mo’unga the chance to run the game early.


All Blacks fans’ thought that the Crusaders playmaker had ‘lost his spark’ and once again ‘failed under pressure’ against a top tier one international team. Once Barrett left the field, the All Blacks ‘never looked right’.

All Blacks head coach Ian Foster hailed the grit of his side’s defensive performance, ‘hanging in there’ against an Ireland side that played ‘incredibly well’.

“I thought Ireland thoroughly deserved their win. It was a game they came out and played incredibly well, held the ball for long periods.

“I thought we did really, really well with our defence in terms of hanging in there and frustrating them.


“The fact that we took our first two opportunities to score, in quite a clinical way, meant that we were hanging in the game. We were in quite a nice position on the back of frustrating them a little bit.

“I was really impressed with them [Ireland] today. I thought they played a high tempo game that kept us chasing, and when it really mattered in the end we just didn’t quite have the composure.”

“Very similar to many other Irish-All Black games I’ve been involved with.”


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Join Free
TRENDING Stormers prop Sandi cops ban for red card hit on Jamie Ritchie Stormers prop Sandi cops ban for red card hit on Jamie Ritchie