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Farrell's brilliant Ireland power to thrilling victory over the All Blacks in Dublin

It’s just the third senior men’s Irish win over New Zealand in history.

Ireland 29

New Zealand 20

IT STARTED WITH Jack Conan grinning at the All Blacks as they performed their haka and it ended with every Irish person in the house beaming from cheek to cheek and bellowing into the cold, crisp Dublin air.

Ireland have beaten the All Blacks for the third time ever, and the third time in five years.

caelan-doris-celebrates-after-scoring-a-try-with-ronan-kelleher Caelan Doris and Jack Conan celebrate. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

It was an utterly deserved victory in an outstanding Test match and just reward for Andy Farrell’s side’s willingness to attack with ball in hand. They frequently battered the Kiwis in contact through their thrillingly dynamic pack and attacked with another show of sharp skills and excellent decision-making. They could have won by more than nine points.

Two years out from the World Cup, these were the latest signs that Farrell has this Ireland squad moving in the right direction.

They were superb to a man but it was fitting that those playing against the All Blacks for the first time ever – the likes of Caelan Doris, Rónan Kelleher, Jamison Gibson-Park, James Lowe, and Hugo Keenan – so often led the way.

Player of the match Doris was particularly sublime, scoring a brilliant solo try in the second half and dominating All Blacks in contact for the entire evening.

Ian Foster’s Kiwis were lethal on a couple of occasions with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it tries to keep themselves firmly in the contest, while their tryline defence was very impressive, but they were second best in Dublin.

Ireland should never have trailed 10-5 at half-time but only managed to score one try despite spending over six minutes in possession in the Kiwi 22 in the opening 40 minutes. The New Zealanders led despite just 23 seconds in the Irish 22.

New Zealand defended against that relentless momentum very strongly in the first half but Ireland cracked them after the interval, roared on by a raucous crowd at a sold-out Aviva Stadium.

After Lowe had scored in the first half, tries from Kelleher and Doris pushed Ireland in front and they were never willing to let the Kiwis sneak their way back ahead, even after captain Johnny Sexton departed injured. Indeed, Joey Carbery was part of a big bench effort, kicking three penalties to guide Ireland home, including one from the halfway line.

With ‘Olé, olé, olé’ ringing down Lansdowne Road, this was another night to remember.

james-lowe-celebrates-after-scoring-the-opening-try-with-hugo-keenan-and-garry-ringrose James Lowe opened the scoring for Ireland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ireland showed they had come to play from the off, Keenan making an early halfbreak before slick handling released Andrew Conway down the right-hand side only for Ethan Blackadder to win a breakdown penalty in the Kiwis’ 22 to relive the pressure.

Ireland’s defence started muscularly too as they won the big collisions but it was the visitors who nearly opened the scoring when Beauden Barrett cross-kicked beautifully to Will Jordan out on the right off a lineout attack, only for James Lowe to haul the wing down before Conway and Ringrose somehow denied Jordie Barrett after Jordan offloaded.

The All Blacks were down to 14 men in the 13th minute when Codie Taylor high-tackled Sexton after an Irish lineout overthrow and Ireland pounced immediately.

They kicked down into New Zealand’s 22 and though their maul was repelled, Ringrose, Doris, and Ryan made big carries to help them to a penalty advantage and then Sexton, Aki and Keenan swung sharp passes from right to left, allowing Lowe to finish past Jordie Barrett in the left corner.

Sexton couldn’t convert and then Ireland frustratingly gave up three soft points as Ryan spilled the restart and Henderson blocked the All Blacks’ access to the breakdown illegally, allowing Jordie Barrett to knock over a penalty for 5-3.

What followed was almost relentless pressure from Ireland down in the New Zealand 22 over the next 10 minutes, during which the visitors also lost Beauden Barrett to a head injury, with Richie Mo’unga sent on.

a-young-ireland-fan-celebrates-james-lowe-scoring-the-opening-try An Ireland fan in the crowd. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

But Ireland couldn’t find the finishing touch on multiple visits to the 22 as they turned down possible shots at goal in search of tries. Ringrose knocked-on, Ireland went off their feet under the posts, the All Blacks won a breakdown turnover penalty, and then another clean turnover on the next visit.

Ireland finally appeared to have cracked them in the 30th minute after huge carries from Kelleher and Porter laid the platform for Furlong to surge over off a van der Flier pass, but referee Luke Pearce and TMO Tom Foley adjudged Kelleher to have crawled on the ground after being tackled and it was chalked off.

Typically, New Zealand went down into Ireland’s half and scored directly off the very next lineout. Flanker Dalton Papalii peeled around the back of a dummy maul to break into a huge gap in the Irish defence and flicked a pass inside for Taylor to finish. Too easy and Barrett’s conversion had them 10-5 to the good.

Ireland had more chances again before the break but the All Blacks’ incredible defence on their tryline continued, forcing an Ireland knock-on a metre out, then soon knocking the ball loose of Gibson-Park’s grasp after Conan had offloaded inside.

Ireland finished the half with yet another five-metre lineout in the right corner but Kelleher’s throw flew exasperatingly through the hands of Ryan for another knock-on and the Kiwis kept their five-point lead for the break.

codie-taylor-celebrates-after-scoring-a-try-with-anton-lienert-brown Codie Taylor crossed for the All Blacks in the first half. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Having lacked a clinical edge in the first half, Ireland started the second with exactly that, scoring on what was their first attack after the interval.

Papalii conceded the breakdown penalty and Ireland struck wonderfully from the lineout, a Sexton loop off Aki allowing Lowe to release Conway up the right before Ryan and Doris made big dents with ball in hand. Aki went very close to finishing it with a carry off Gibson-Park, then Kelleher got the job done from close-range.

Sexton’s conversion hit the post to leave this absorbing contest level at 10-10 but Ireland were soon in front as they kept their foot on the throat of the New Zealanders.

They attacked from a lineout inside the Kiwis half, with Kelleher carrying powerfully once again, and then Doris came around the corner for a simple pass off Gibson-Park and simply swatted Taylor aside to sprint home for a brilliant try from 20 metres out.

Sexton’s extras had Ireland 17-10 to the good and they kept coming, with the All Blacks needing a big maul intervention from replacement hooker Dane Coles after Gibson-Park had brilliantly followed up a Nepo Laulala by launching a stunning 50:22 kick into the right corner.

The margin extended to 10 points in the 56th minute, though, as Sexton punished more All Blacks indiscipline.

jamison-gibson-park-celebrates-ronan-kelleher-scoring-a-try Ireland celebrate Kelleher's try just after half time. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

And then, it happened again. New Zealand scored in the blink of an eye.

Mo’unga swung a pass to Jordan wide on the right, he chipped ahead for Rieko Ioane to gather, then the outside centre drew in Conway and slipped a pass inside for Jordan to gather and dart away under the posts. Mo’unga converted for 20-17 with 17 minutes left on the clock.

Ireland responded well, though, winning back their restart in a choke tackle and spinning the ball wide to the left before Tyrel Lomax tackled sub lock Tadhg Beirne off the ball for an Irish penalty.

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Sexton departed for a HIA at this point in the 65th minute and Joey Carbery came straight off the bench to fire over the three points from straight in front of the posts.

Ireland had a little breathing room at 23-17 with 15 to go but again the Kiwis showed their attacking prowess as a brilliant chip from Mo’unga was claimed by Jordan in the Irish 22 and before Rieko Ioane appeared slipped brother Akira, on as a sub back row, through a gap between Gibson-Park and Carbery to score.

It was a forward pass, so Ireland breathed a sigh of relief, but Pearce came back to a Kiwi penalty and Barrett made it 23-20 as The Fields of Athenry rung out around the Aviva Stadium. 

caelan-doris-makes-a-break-to-score-a-try Caelan Doris breaks to score for Ireland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ireland kept on attacking, with Conan breaking off a Lowe pass only to knock the ball on as he entered the Kiwi 22.

Foster’s men broke out dangerously from the ensuing scrum but Lowe made a wonderful read and tackle on Rieko Ioane to stop the danger, with replacement back row Peter O’Mahony swopping over the ball for a massive turnover penalty.

From the halfway line, Carbery smashed over a brilliant kick at goal to send Ireland out to 26-20.

And they sealed the deal with another late, late Carbery penalty to send the All Blacks packing. 

Ireland scorers:

Tries: James Lowe, Rónan Kelleher, Caelan Doris

Conversions: Johnny Sexton [1 from 3]

Penalties: Johnny Sexton [1 from 1], Joey Carbery [3 from 3]

New Zealand scorers:

Tries: Codie Taylor, Will Jordan

Conversions: Jordie Barrett [2 from 2]

Penalties: Jordie Barrett [2 from 2]

IRELAND: Hugo Keenan; Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki  (Keith Earls ’72), James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (captain) (Joey Carbery ’65), Jamison Gibson-Park (Conor Murray ’72); Andrew Porter (Cian Healy ’76), Rónan Kelleher (Rob Herring ’59), Tadhg Furlong (Finlay Bealham ’65); Iain Henderson (Tadhg Beirne ’48), James Ryan; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier (Peter O’Mahony ’59), Jack Conan

NEW ZEALAND: Jordie Barret; Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown (David Havili ’38), Sevu Reece; Beauden Barrett (HIA – Richie Mo’unga ’22), TJ Perenara (Finlay Christie ‘); Joe Moody (Karl Tu’inukuafe ’53), Codie Taylor (yellow card ’13) (Dane Coles ’53), Nepo Laulala (Tyrel Lomax ’53); Brodie Retallick; Sam Whitelock (captain); Ethan Blackadder (Dane Coles ’21 to ’24) (Akira Ioane ’61), Dalton Papalii, Ardie Savea.

Replacements: (Tupou Vaa’i ‘)

Referee: Luke Pearce [RFU].

- This article was updated at 7.49pm to correct ‘six’ to ‘five’ in the second paragraph, as well as at 7.45am on 14 November to correct a typo in the third paragraph.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from the Aviva Stadium

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