Ireland recorded a memorable first ever home victory over New Zealand in Dublin last night - only the second time they have ever beaten the All Blacks.
The World number one side were simply not allowed to get any room as Ireland pounded them and man for man produced an awesome display in a massively physical contest in the Aviva Stadium. It was a frantic opening to the much anticipated high profile game. New Zealand pressed the Irish in the early stages, but the men in green's defence held solid.
Then the Irish came out fighting, going through the phases, building well. The spelll ended with a penalty in front of the posts, outhalf Jonathan Sexton firing over.
Beauden Barrett, Damien McKenzie and Reiko Ioane made lots of runs for the visitors as it was their turn to inject something into the game. That pressure eventually told when Ireland conceded a penalty and outhalf Barrett obliged to level the scores.
But Ireland get the bit between their teeth again and some solid pressure has them pressing hard. Stander makes the initial surge but it is held up. From the 15m scrum a little chip over from Sexton seems to be recovered on the ground by fullback Rob Kearney and he appears to ground. Referee Wayne Barnes gives an onfield decision of a try, but on TMO review it is ruled out as the ball went slightly forward.
It comes back for the penalty advantage and Sexton goals to make it 6-3.
Ireland's Keith Earls makes a tackle as New Zealand attack
The All Blacks attack again as the end to end game continues. Barrett finds an instant response as he sends a drop goal sailing between the posts to level matters again after 29 minutes.
Ireland's workrate was through the roof as they mounted another series of attacks. It is sparked by a brilliant break from the Ulster winger as he gathers Smith’s box kick and then surges through the middle. The hosts are on the front foot as Furlong picks up the mantle, before Stockdale carries again on this left side.
It is a sea of green as the hosts press. The Irish scrum obliterates the All Blacks at the set-piece and with a penalty advantage coming, Sexton looks cross-field for Stockdale. Nothing comes of it and then Sexton opts to go for the corner once again.
The driving maul never comes off, but Ireland remain in the ascendancy and a further penalty sees Sexton goal to send them in with a 9-6 lead - scant enough in some respects given the dominance they have had.
Ireland's dominance at the set piece see's Kiwi boss Steven Hansen send the shepherd's crook out for the entire front row two minutes into the second half.
But it is the All Blacks who have an early chance, Stockdale's attempted chip charged down by Kieran Read. Only the number eight knocks it on it may well have led to a try.
Things can turn quickly, another attack from Stockdale, he chips it over the defence and this time races through to gather and get over for the try as the Aviva Stadium lifts out of its foundations. It is is 12th try in 14 games. Sexton's conversion gives Ireland a 16-6 lead after 48 minutes.
Stockdale then turned defender as he stopped a threat on the All Blacks right hand side, Barret popping a grubber kick through, but the Ulster winger gathered to halt the imminent danger.
But it was now a sea of Black hitting the Irish line, Barrett instrumental in it with replacement Richie Mo'unga and Loane threatening. Peter O'Maohny made two huge hits to stop two separate attacks, it took its toll and he was replaced by Ulster;s Jordi Murphy while Iain Henderson came on for the hard working and ever present Devin Toner.
Barrett looked as if he had eluded the home defence, but as he turned for support he passed straight into the grateful hands of Kearney.
Ireland grew back into the game but two missed lineouts by replacement Sean Cronin foiled good attacking positions as the game ticked into the final 10 minutes.
The play was all in the All Blacks half as the Irish pressed and reacted to every touch the visitors got.
Replacement scrumhalf Luke McGrath foolishly kicked possession away when the Irish were in control and that led to a nervous finish as the tourists pushed one final time. A knock-on was met with a thunderous roar in the Aviva Stadium - Ireland had won!
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