Ireland Surprise All Blacks in Dublin

14 Nov 2021
Ireland Surprise All Blacks in Dublin

Out-gunned by a passionate Ireland team, the All Blacks were beaten 29-20 in an outstanding Test match in Dublin.

Holding the ball, working it close with short-passes and off-loads, and then moving it wide when sensing their chances, Ireland held too many aces for an All Blacks who failed to find fluidity, and possession, throughout the contest.

It was a continuation of Ireland's recent success against New Zealand and it was helped by New Zealanders in the shape of halfback Jamison Gibson-Park, who was outstanding while second five-eighths Bundee Aki and wing James Lowe were not far behind.

Then, when they lost captain and first five-eighths Johnny Sexton, it was a New Zealand-born Irishman Joe Carbery who took over the goal-kicking to land the last three penalty goals to keep the pressure on the All Blacks.

Defence doesn't come much better than what the All Blacks produced in the face of determined Irish offence in a rip-snorting first half.  Forced to make 158 tackles to only 37 by Ireland, the All Blacks faced intensity Ireland has been renowned for throughout its history.

It eased in the second half but the final count was 235-101, but the telling statistic was Ireland made 175 passes to 57 by the All Blacks. That resulted in the All Blacks having only 36 percent of territory and 39 percent of possession.

Retaining the ball in long sequences they moved the ball all over the field with loose forwards Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan and Caelan Doris joined by hooker Ronan Kelleher in constant support while first five-eighths Johnny Sexton directed traffic accurately. Both wings, former Chiefs player James Lowe, and Andrew Conway, were on roving commissions to get the ball over the advantage line.

The forwards were given a strenuous workout defensively and there were casualties as first five-eighths Beauden Barrett was unable to pass an HIA while centre second five-eighths Anton Lienert-Brown also left the field just before halftime.

Adding to the workload were 10 minutes spent in mid-half coping without hooker Codie Taylor for a high tackle on Sexton.

From that infringement, Ireland created a try-scoring chance from the penalty kick for a lineout in the All Blacks 22m. They won the ball and moved the ball, with an outstanding pass from Aki to fullback Hugo Keenan which gave Lowe the space to dive over in the corner in the 14th minute.

In the 29th minute they had a try to prop Tadhg Furlong ruled out for an earlier infringement when Kelleher carried the ball forward illegally.

From that turnaround the All Blacks pounced when from a lineout near halfway, flanker Dalton Papalii, who positioned himself at halfback for the play, spied a gap around the end of the lineout.

He raced through at speed and had Taylor on his inside to take the pace and run in the try.

Ireland, were in position, to score in the last play of the half from a lineout, but they knocked the ball on.

Into the second half, Ireland finally had some reward when a continuation of their tactics resulted in Kelleher breaking down the defence to score two minutes after the restart.

Untidy play by the All Blacks when having the ball in hand as a pass from centre Rieko Ioane went behind wing Sevu Reece whose kick in recovery was only another opportunity for Ireland to run the ball back. A Sexton kick to the corner opened a chance and when the ball was moved, Aki took the ball up and from the ruck space opened up for Doris who galloped 25m for the try.

Replacement second five-eighths David Havili was ruled offside in the 55th minute and Sexton cashed in with a penalty goal to extend the lead to 20-10.

Finally settling when having possession a long pass from Havili to wing Will Jordan saw a familiar chip ahead. Centre Rieko Ioane chased to gather the ball and then fed Jordan in support to score.

But then, two minutes later, a late tackle by replacement prop Tyrell Lomax provided a penalty goal chance that was taken by Carbery.

The All Blacks looked to have responded to more clever play from Jordan as he ran onto a lob from replacement Richie Mo'unga into the goalmouth. From the ruck, replacement Akira Ioane looked to have scored after a short pass from Rieko Ioane but it was ruled forward, although three points came from a penalty goal as the All Blacks were under advantage.

And the coup de grâce came with a penalty conceded at a tackle as they attempted to do what was impossible on the night, clear their territory by running the ball.

Ireland 29: (Tries: Lowe, Kelleher, Doris; Con: Sexton; Pens: Sexton, Carberry 3) New Zealand 20:
(Tries: Taylor, Jordan; Cons: J Barrett 2; Pens: J Barret 2)

Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Jamison Gibson Park, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Caelan Doris, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Ronan Kelleher, 1 Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Peter O’Mahony, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Keith Earls

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 David Havili

Referee: Luke Pearce (RFU)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley (RFU) & Christophe Ridley (RFU)
TMO: Tom Foley (RFU)