Bring on Ireland's three-Test tour of New Zealand next summer

Ireland have never beaten the All Blacks on New Zealand soil.

Ireland have beaten the Kiwis three times in five years.
Ireland have beaten the Kiwis three times in five years.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IF IT WASN’T a rivalry before Saturday night, then it has surely become that now.

The All Blacks will not be enjoying this recent trend of losing to Ireland in November.

It’s worth remembering that when it mattered most in the 2019 World Cup quarter-final, New Zealand gave Ireland a thorough beating, but that doesn’t mean the three Irish wins in the last five years don’t count.

They have been stirring occasions and last weekend at the Aviva Stadium felt even more special than the other two. After a long, long time without a full house roaring them on, Ireland reveled in the atmosphere as they dispatched the All Blacks on a 29-20 scoreline. 

November is clearly the best time to play the All Blacks, given that it’s the end of their season. The challenge for the Kiwis has been magnified even more this year by the entire Rugby Championship being held in Australia due to the pandemic.

Between that competition, a stopover in the US, and games against Wales and Italy, the All Blacks had been on the road for 13 weeks by the time they face Ireland on Saturday. That’s a long old stint away from their loved ones, with a clash against France to come this weekend – and what a game that should be in Paris.

There were worries about Ireland’s match sharpness coming into this autumn window but they are obviously fresher than the Kiwi players, with most of them free of the injury niggles and fatigue a full season can bring. 

Ireland now have two victories over the All Blacks on home soil, as well as one in Chicago, so the next challenge is doing it down in their neck of the woods. 12 times Ireland have played the Kiwis in New Zealand and 12 times they have lost. The most recent outing in June 2012 was a 60-0 defeat, which came a week after running them close on a 22-19 scoreline.

The summer of 2022 provides the next opportunity for Ireland, with a three-Test tour awaiting in July. There’s plenty of water to run under the bridge before then – the 2022 Six Nations should be riveting – but it’s hard not to be excited already.

ardie-savea-dejected-after-the-game The All Blacks face France this weekend. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Ian Foster’s men will be determined to prove a point against Ireland when that series rolls around, while Andy’s Farrell’s tourists will be targeting another historic first by winning on New Zealand soil. The Ireland boss knows his side have poked the bear.

“We definitely have, no doubt about it,” said Farrell on Saturday night. “History shows that the next time you play against the All Blacks [after beating them], that’s the most difficult.

“That’s part of our journey, it’s a great one and we want to test ourselves against the best.

“50,000 people being behind us here tonight, getting the victory against them is all well and good but we know it’s going to be harder down the track.

“The more we’re going to play these guys the better we’re going to get.

“It’ll be a tough tour, I’ve no doubt they’ll come firing back at us in the first Test. But it’s about us finding out about ourselves. It’s the place that we want to be.”

And yet, this Ireland team will have at least a degree of belief they can be the first to win in New Zealand. Yesterday showed exactly what they can do.

“Our traditional way as a nation, I think everyone in the northern hemisphere really, it’s about rolling your sleeves up and getting stuck in,” said Farrell.

“We’re better than that – we’re skillful, we’re able to make good decisions and play a varied type of game, play whatever is in front of us.

“The ability to stay calm and play the game we want to play is helping us with our execution.”

What are they
really like?

Rare insights on sport's biggest names from the writers who know them best. Listen to Behind the Lines podcast.

Become a Member

caelan-doris-tadhg-beirne-and-rob-herring-celebrate-at-the-final-whistle Ireland take on Argentina on Sunday. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Every player in Irish rugby will be hoping to feature on that tour just over a year before the 2023 World Cup. 

For now, though, there is a big clash with Argentina on Sunday to round out this November Test series. Mario Ledesma’s side ended their seven-game losing streak on Saturday with a 37-16 victory over Italy in Treviso. They’ve had a tough year.

Farrell indicated that he will consider changes as he assesses his squad’s fitness and playing time over the past fortnight, but an eight-day turnaround helps.

“We want to finish on a high,” said Farrell.

“It’s our last game, the aim is to be as consistently good as we possibly can be. That’s the hardest thing in any sport, to be consistently at your best.

“It’s tough, particularly when people are chasing you down. It’s a lot easier to be the underdog.

“To be the favourites, to keep your feet on the ground, we have to train well this week, make sure we prepare as we have over the last few weeks. It’s going to stand to us.”

- This article was updated at 6.37am to correct ‘next’ to ‘neck’ in the eighth paragraph.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel