Published: Sat, November 17, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Ireland stun All Blacks to lay down Rugby World Cup marker

Ireland stun All Blacks to lay down Rugby World Cup marker

"We're in a good space mentally so it's about being ready physically to get the job done". That's the sort of thing that they've delivered a number of times.

There would be no Ryan Crotty moment, rather another piece of history for Irish rugby in what is a golden age. Dan Leavy, 8. CJ Stander.

All Blacks - Penalties: Beauden Barrett (2).

Ireland have only beaten New Zealand once in 30 matches since they first met in 1905, but that win came in the United States two years ago.

Ireland initially looked to build on their lead, but soon found themselves forced onto the back foot as the All Blacks looked to click into gear.

"They are a very structured side, and in terms of how they hold onto the ball they are the best probably in terms of tier-one nations in the world", said Read.

Best said Ireland were anticipating a bruising battle.

Barrett levelled with a drop-goal with Wayne Barnes playing advantage for a penalty conceded by Best.

Ireland's growing sense of ambition was evident as Sexton kicked for touch when well placed to double his tally and the bold move nearly paid off when CJ Stander was held up over the line. The try looked inevitable. Bundee Aki, 11. Jacob Stockdale, 10. The Ulster try-machine chipped over the top and out-sprinted Aaron Smith to the line for his 12th global try in 14 caps. Conversion: Johnny Sexton. Penalties: Sexton (3).

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But Scott Barrett got up to disrupt the lineout, allowing the men in black to emerge with the ball and clear the danger.

Rob Kearney was lucky to escape a yellow when he chased his garryowen and collided with Rieko Iaone in the air.

Considering New Zealand's high penalty count, they were fortunate to not see a man sent to the sin bin during that first half, while Ireland would have been disappointed to only enjoy a three-point lead at the break.

It was his final act as a first-half injury finally caught up on him and, with Sexton also struggling, the final quarter was looking ominous despite the 10 point lead.

The 2016 win at Soldier Field in Chicago will be foremost in the minds of most Irish supporters this weekend but that was superseded two weeks later when the All Blacks exacted a swift and awful revenge at the Aviva Stadium.

Stockdale snuck past Beauden Barrett up the left, but his kick was easily dealt with by Mo'unga.

And after passing this unremitting challenge against the back-to-back world.

But again, Cronin was picked off - this time by Retallick - as the game grew more frenetic.

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