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MATCH REPORT: All Blacks stunned as Ireland roar to deserved win

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13th November, 2021
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Ireland roared to a well deserved 29-20 defeat of the All Blacks in front of a seething crowd of 51,000 at the Aviva Stadium.

Down by five points at halftime, Ireland went to the lead through Ronan Kelleher and Caelan Doris.

With 10 minutes to play, Will Jordan crossed for the All Blacks to cut the gap to three points but two Joey Carbery penalties sent the crowd home happy.

Earlier James Lowe had given Ireland a first half lead before Codie Taylor’s try saw the All Blacks head into the break with their noses in front.

It is Ireland’s seventh consecutive win as they make significant ground under Andy Farrell’s system of expansive rugby.

The Irish dominated the contest and claimed a third win in five years against the All Blacks following on from wins in 2016 and 2018.

First half try scorer Lowe, who was born in NZ and qualified through the three-year residency rule, summed up the feeling.

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“It’s amazing. Never in a million years did I think this day would come. I dreamt of being an All Black as a kid,” Lowe said.

“I gave up that dream as I wasn’t good enough and to come over here, to hear my native country anthem and stand in front of the haka, it’s a childhood dream.”

Lowe gave a brilliant post match interview where he described a tackle on Reiko Ioane in the 70th minute as his highlight.

“You bollockses always talk about my d [defence] and I got up and whacked Rieko, and we got the turnover,” Lowe said in a post-match television interview.

“I don’t care about that first try, it was the moment in the 70th minute, to be able to read [the play] and do everything I’ve been doing for the past six or seven months and produce it against the best team in the world, that’s what I’m happy about.”

James Lowe of Ireland celebrates a turnover during the Autumn Nations Series match between Ireland and New Zealand at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

James Lowe celebrates his try (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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After the first full house at the Aviva Stadium in 21 months tried to drown out the Haka with a rendition of ‘The Fields of Athenry’, Ireland responded by showing their intent to play the kind of fast-paced rugby that hit Japan for 60 points last week.

They were not afforded the same kind of space and it was the All Blacks who came closest to opening the score through the electric Jordan before Taylor’s yellow card for a high tackle on Johnny Sexton handed the hosts the initiative.

That was to be New Zealand’s last attack for most of the half as Ireland took advantage with ruthless precision, going for the corner rather than the sticks with the resulting penalty and when their pack could not quite make it over the ball was spun out wide for Lowe to score.

Ireland remained camped in the All Blacks half, even when the visitors returned to their full complement of players, and somehow wound up trailing 10-5 at the break

After Tadhg Furlong had a try disallowed, New Zealand took the lead out of absolutely nowhere. Dalton Papalii broke from the back of a lineout into a gaping hole in the Irish defence and Taylor was beside him to finish.

Ireland again came within inches of scoring just before the break, this time through Sexton, but the resolute All Blacks went into half-time ahead having make 160 tackles to Ireland’s 37 in the first 40 minutes.

The onslaught continued in the second half and the dam broke when hooker Kelleher’s 44th minute try levelled the score.

The early defensive effort was taking its toll on New Zealand, who also lost fly-half Beauden Barrett to a head injury in the first half, and Leinster flanker Caelan Doris
broke through to add a third try shortly afterwards.

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Sexton’s first conversion of the day and a quick additional penalty put the hosts 20-10 in front before Jordan’s 17th try from 11 caps set up a tense final 20 minutes.

But Ireland stood firm with replacement fly-half Carbery knocking over three late penalties, one from the half-way line, before the packed house erupted on the final whistle.

‘We didn’t have the composure’

All Blacks coach Ian Foster felt his team shouldn’t have has a 68th minute try ruled out, and questioned some of Ireland’s tactics, but paid Ireland fair tribute.

“They thoroughly deserved their win,” said Foster.

“They played incredibly well and held the ball for long periods.

“I thought we did well with our defence, hanging in there and frustrating them, and the fact we took our first two opportunities to score in a clinical way meant we were in the game and in quite a nice position.

“[But] I was impressed with them. They played a high-tempo game, kept us chasing and when it really mattered at the end we just didn’t have the composure to take the opportunity presented. It was very similar to other Ireland-All Blacks games I’ve been involved with up here.”

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Of a draining first half, Foster said: “I was delighted that under sheer weight of possession and territory our defence stood up pretty strongly. We conceded one try when we had a yellow card, but we got to halftime a bit battered but in a reasonably good position.

“We weren’t very clinical in that first 10 minutes [after halftime]. We presented a couple of opportunities they were good enough to take, and then it was a matter of chasing the game. I thought Will [Jordan’s] was a great try; I thought Akira’s was a great try – but the TMO didn’t, and that’s probably the story of the game.”

The TMO ruled a forward transfer from Rieko Ioane to his brother.

“I certainly saw it differently, but that’s life,” said Foster. “It was a really, really marginal call.”

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