November Tests: Ireland clinch epic win over All Blacks

Emmett Rice
November 18, 2018

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the victor of the test played on Saturday (Sunday NZ time) at Aviva Stadium could make that claim and Ireland toppling the world champion New Zealand side is huge in boosting their confidence ahead of next year's World Cup in Japan.

The match between Ireland and New Zealand sees the world's top two global teams face each other in Dublin, but the history of this fixture is decidedly one-sided.

They controlled the play and pressurised the opposition line but, to the home side's credit, they produced an outstanding defensive set to negate that threat.

The best player of the Six Nations brushed past the surprised All Blacks, regathered and slid in.

"I think as a collective team. they are all pretty relieved".

The game inevitably opened up and New Zealand's backline became more of a feature but Ireland, saved again by O'Mahony before he limped off to a hero's ovation on the hour, survived the onslaught.

Ireland then took the game to the All Blacks with New Zealand-born Bundee Aki - who had sung his adopted country's anthem in Gaelic with great gusto - prominent in their attacks.

England were 15-10 down at half-time and a shock looked possible, but they scored 25 unanswered points after the break.

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Simon Lewis of the Irish Examiner said the phenomenal atmosphere inside the Aviva Stadium contributed to Ireland's success from the start. He was then replaced, with 17 minutes to go, and walked off to a standing ovation.

A long kick back upfield by Ben Smith resulted in Rob Kearney ultimately being penalised and Beauden Barrett converted the penalty to level the match.

Their first job was to stand behind the posts as Stockdale found that if you keep probing, things can come off. They worked the ball from deep to the Ireland 22, going through the phases as the clock moved into injury time. They should be because they've been beaten 2-3 times since we played them - the Lions and South Africa and maybe Australia have beaten them in there in a Bledisloe Cup match as well - so that's enough by their standards since '16.

"It does make it a little bit more complicated in this game, particularly for me, but I'm incredibly proud of the group of Irish players who did what they did tonight".

In terms of the New Zealand team, BOD does not feel that they're at the level of four years ago, with the back-row slightly weaker than the team of old - "Kieran Read apart" - and also the centre positions not as impressive as in 2015.

Scott Sio's yellow card for a deliberate knock-on during a sustained spell of second-half pressure from the home side when the score was 21-7 was a severe test for the tourists.

"To keep them scoreless in tries was unbelievable".

"Would that try change the game?"

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