'You can't call it an ambush' - NZ media reacts to Irish victory over All Blacks
Ireland dominated from start to finish to topple New Zealand 29-20 in the Aviva Stadium and make it three wins from the sides’ last five meetings with another superb performance against the All Blacks.
Ireland completely controlled the first half but somehow trailed 10-5 at the break when only James Lowe could breach the superb New Zealand defence. Codie Taylor’s try on the other hand came from one of only two visiting forays into the Irish half.
The onslaught continued in the second period and the All Blacks dam was broken, first through hooker Ronan Kelleher and then man-of-the-match Caelan Doris. A conversion and a penalty from captain Johnny Sexton put the hosts 20-10 in front.
Will Jordan’s 17th try from 11 caps set up a tense final 20 minutes but Ireland stood firm with replacement flyhalf Joey Carbery knocking over three late penalties, one from the halfway line, before the packed house erupted on the final whistle.
NZ’s media were magnanimous in the face of the loss, giving Ireland their dues.
Liam Napier in the NZ Herald wrote: “Ireland fulfilled their status as one of the great modern-day foes to record their third win over the All Blacks.
“In the intense Dublin cauldron, before a sell out crowd at the Aviva Stadium, this absorbing test match was everything it was billed to be; brutal trench warfare with overly officious refereeing.”
Stuff’s Marc Hinton wrote: “Ireland have done it again, summoning the fury, commitment and accuracy to complete yet another famous victory over the All Blacks – their third in the last half-dozen seasons.
“Ian Foster’s men simply had no answer to the intensity, defensive ferocity and complete and utter possession dominance of Andy Farrell’s Ireland side who surged to a deserved 29-20, three tries to two, victory at a seething Aviva Stadium in Dublin early Sunday (NZT).”
Hinton noted that: “Let’s give Ireland credit first. You can’t call it an ambush when you know it’s coming, and the New Zealanders went into this contest well aware of what was heading their way from a home side with its confidence and belief up. For all that, they simply had no answer to the urgency and aggression of their hosts, even if they were able to stay in the contest on the back of an heroic defensive effort – making a mammoth 238 tackles for the match, 158 of them coming in the first spell.”
Meanwhile Gregor Paul argued there is reason for concern, asking whether the All Blacks have lost touch with the rigours of Test rugby. “There’s some temptation to go glass half full after the All Blacks loss in Dublin, their third to Ireland in the last six tests and believe that the depth of character they showed to stay in the fight and keep it alive for as long as they did is a portent of better things to come.
“But there’s a much greater need to resist that temptation and question whether rugby in New Zealand is so gripped by a pass and catch culture that it has genuinely lost touch of what test rugby is all about.
“There is reason to be worried that the All Blacks no longer have the ante to play at the same table as the likes of Ireland, England and South Africa and are no closer to finding the muscularity they need than they were when they began searching for it four years ago.”
– additional reporting AAP
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