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Schmidt hails Farrell influence as All Blacks suffer rare try-less night

One try is not supposed to be enough to beat the All Blacks, but Ireland have an utterly ferocious defence.

Ireland forming a line and getting off it to make tackles.
Ireland forming a line and getting off it to make tackles.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Sean Farrell reports from the Aviva Stadium

THE ACCEPTED WISDOM says that you must go in search of tries, and lots of them, if you want to beat New Zealand.

That theory was underlined and put into bold type by Ireland’s high-scoring history-making win in Chicago.

However, Saturday night on Lansdowne Road was a true tight, tense Test match and Ireland’s ferocious defensive effort ended a 23-year try-scoring streak for New Zealand against northern hemisphere nations.

Just as the combined team of the Lions managed last year, Ireland denied the All Blacks the lifeblood of tries, or the space to create them in an enthralling 16-9 win.

“You could ask Andy Farrell, he’s delighted,” said Joe Schmidt as he happily sat through media questions post-match.

Farrell, of course, is the common factor in the Lions’ feat and Ireland’s two wins over their 113-year history of facing New Zealand.

“You get up, you form a line and you get off it to make tackles. it’s not rocket science,” Schmidt says of the defensive system after Ireland fought their way through 156 successful tackles. But he hailed the approach of Farrell and the diligence of players investing in the system.

“I think (the key is) everyone understanding their role, it’s everyone committing to their role and trusting that other people will do their role, so you don’t get chasing somebody else.

There were times we did get severed. And the great thing about Faz is that he will look at those and he’ll say here’s a couple of solutions, what do you think?

“He’s doing a super job, great job and I’ve really enjoyed working with him.”

With that said, this wouldn’t be a Schmidt team if there was no room for improvement to be found. And the Kiwi admits Ireland rode their luck and needed to scramble to grab a rare northern hemisphere clean sheet against the back-to-back world champions.

“It’s so seldom that the All Blacks don’t score a try, but there were three potential tries we managed to scramble on.

“On a given day, they might get a couple of those and it’s all different. They’re the narrow margins.”

Margins shaded green. 

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Sean Farrell

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