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Heroic Henshaw and more talking points from Ireland's long-awaited win over New Zealand

Ireland, baby, WE DID IT!

Image: INPHO/Billy Stickland

Sean Farrell reports from Soldier Field, Chicago

IRELAND RECORDED A first-ever win over New Zealand in today’s opening November international. You can find our match report from the game here, or read below for reaction.

History!

It’s not every day you witness something truly unprecedented.

29 times Ireland have faced the All Blacks over the last 111 years. Today, thousands of miles from home, they finally did it!

The best Ireland managed against New Zealand over the previous 28 meetings between the teams was a 10 – 10 draw in January 1973. Bar a handful of notable exceptions, every other contest has been more of a lesson than an evenly matched contest. But now we can demand respect.

Heroic Henshaw

Three years ago Ireland started with O’Driscoll and D’Arcy in midfield. A lot has changed in the time since, including the rise of Robbie Henshaw as the rock at the heart of Ireland’s back-line.

Conor Murray celebrates Robbie Henshaw's try Source: INPHO/Billy Stickland

The Athlone man was simply magnificent in Soldier Field, making his presence felt all over the park, making huge tackles, choking Kiwi attacks and barrelling in to black jerseys to keep Ireland in the ascendancy.

Kiwi indiscipline

Ireland forced Steve Hansen’s usually disciplined men into a string of early penalties that kept them on the back foot early on. By the time eight minutes had elapsed, the All Blacks had already clocked up five penalties from Mathieu Raynal.

Joe Moody spear tackles Robbie Henshaw, resulting in a yellow card Source: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

Joe Moody was fortunate to only see yelllow for the dangerous tip tackle on Robbie Henshaw. Ireland didn’t get flustered by any perceived injustice though, they set about making the most of the one-man advantage. The 10-minute period saw them turn a 3 -5 deficit into a 15 -5 lead.

The Toughest Test passed with flying colours

Aside from the heroic effort in the first Test in South Africa, Ireland showed little on the field this year to make us expect anything like this.

Not only did they put together solid set-pieces, all-conquering mauls and expansive backplay, they displayed an incredible amount of mental fortitude to keep attacking the previously ‘unbeatable’ Kiwis and, finally, put them away.

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As it happened: Ireland v New Zealand, November International

The42 Rugby Show from Chicago

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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