'Lost his spark': All Blacks' Crusader contingent under spotlight
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.
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’.
A few points for AB’s moving forward; 1. Coles needs to start at hooker. 2. Havili doesn’t deserve a spot on the squad. 3. Mo’unga has lost his spark and struggles against top tier nations. 4.All Blacks have no answer for a rush defence #IREvNZL
— Scott (@misjifNZ) November 13, 2021
#IREvNZL I can understand the desire to use Mo’unga more at 10 but against tier 1 internationals he just seems to fail under the pressure a bit. Also will never understand why Foster chooses to bring on reserves so late into the game, does he not understand they need time to work
— shweeb (@tomtheshweeb) November 13, 2021
Superb from Ireland – Doris, Ringrose and Lowe outstanding. Strange from NZ, never looked right once Barrett left the field. Big win for Farrell #IREvNZL
— fpl_dwigt (@fpl_dwigt) November 13, 2021
It’s clear who’s the best 10 in New Zealand, Mounga had no idea out there. In fact Havili was the one playing like a 10 kulaMatch
— Dr Swatyupens (@_Tamba_T) November 13, 2021
These are the games when we need the likes of Mounga to take over but he was nowhere to be seen. Perenara? It’s time cuz to hang up the boots. Blackadder needed the next train back to Christchurch I reckon.
— Big One (@BigOne73737482) November 13, 2021
Couldn’t agree more about the point regarding Mo’unga seemingly shirking first receiver duties to a lost Havilii. Plenty of other problems but that was one of the more frustrating ones. https://t.co/H0pCOUECn7
— Nick Goodall (@NickGoodall_CL) November 13, 2021
We’ll be lucky to win anything with him. Havili, Reece, Mounga etc shown up yet again when it gets tough. Christie our best player under high ball and snappiest doesn’t get a minute while TJ is exhausted & losing the plot in the last 10. He’s diluting a legacy.
— Stinky Jim (@StinkInk) November 13, 2021
I thought a lot of his decision-making was off, he gave away a big penalty in our own half at a crucial time in the game. I am more concerned about Mo’unga going missing in every big game we play though…
— ROCA (@roca0409) November 13, 2021
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.”
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