Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 2°C Saturday 28 November 2020

Dublin, Chicago and Hamilton - Ireland's last 5 meetings with New Zealand

Ireland’s recent record against New Zealand has produced a mix of crushing lows and historic highs over the years.

Beauden Barrett fends off the tackle of Johnny Sexton in 2016.
Beauden Barrett fends off the tackle of Johnny Sexton in 2016.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IRELAND HEAD INTO Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand as underdogs, but if their recent record against the All Blacks is anything to go by, it won’t be a quiet evening in Tokyo.

It’s been a case of crushing lows and historic highs over the years, and here, we look back at the five most recent encounters in a match-up that has grown into one of the most engrossing rivalries in the game. 

ben-smith-scores-a-try Ben Smith crosses to score the fourth of New Zealand's nine tries in Hamilton. Source: Simon Watts

1 – New Zealand 60 Ireland 0, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, 23/6/12

A horrible evening, and a crushing end to a three game series that had seen Ireland lose 42-10 and 22-19 in the previous two weeks.

New Zealand took just six minutes to pounce for the opening try, and had moved into a 26-0 lead withing 22 minutes as a shattered Ireland team struggled in difficult conditions. It only went from bad to worse, as New Zealand crossed for nine tries against Declan Kidney’s team. It is worth nothing that all of Ireland’s meetings with New Zealand since have come at the end of the All Blacks’ season.

Eight of the current Ireland World Cup squad featured, with Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray, Cian Healy, Rory Best, Peter O’Mahony and Sean Cronin all involved.

What they said:

 ”It is quite a simple game, if you’re losing the collisions you’re going to lose the game.” – Declan Kidney.

“There is always a danger when you get 20 points up that quickly that you might throw the ball around more than you should, but I was happy with the way we got the mix right.” – Richie McCaw.

tommy-bowe-dejected-after-new-zealands-scored-a-late-try Source: James Crombie/INPHO

2 – Ireland 22 New Zealand 24, Lansdowne Road, 24/11/13

Joe Schmidt’s first game against New Zealand as Ireland head coach, and the home side came agonisingly close to recording a first ever win against the All Blacks.

A brilliant start saw Conor Murray, Rory Best and Rob Kearney all cross for tries in a whirlwind 17 minute spell. What followed was an exhibition from the All Blacks, who slowly clawed their way back into the game before an exhilarating end to the contest. Ryan Crotty got over in the corner in the last play, before Aaron Cruden convered at the second attempt. 

So many excellent performances, with Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip both outstanding, but it just wasn’t to be for Ireland, who were left to a rue a Johnny Sexton missed penalty at a time when they could have moved into an eight point lead with five minutes left to play.

What they said:

“When it (Sexton’s kick) missed, you could see the boys lift because we still had a chance. The result could have gone the other way. We survived a s***-storm. I’d like to congratulate Ireland on a sensational performance, but to come back from that and claw our way across the line was a pretty special effort.” – Steve Hansen.

“To be a minute away from history and have the ball in your hands on their 10-metre line – it’s devastating.” – Joe Schmidt.

rob-kearney-and-jamie-heaslip-celebrate-winning Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip celebrate Ireland's first win against New Zealand in 2016. Source: INPHO/Billy Stickland

3 – Ireland 40 New Zealand 29, Soldier Field, Chicago, 5/11/16

The day history was made, and what a way to do it. Ireland were superb from start to finish, scoring five tries as they claimed a first ever win against New Zealand.

It was a performance that had it all, from the powerful running that led to CJ Stander scoring Ireland’s second try, to the ingenuity of Conor Murray selling a neat dummy to dart over for Ireland’s third, to the control and hard work that saw Ireland go right up the pitch before Robbie Henshaw put the icing on the cake in the final minutes.

One of the defining days of the Joe Schmidt era, and the ultimate team performance.

What they said:

“It’s a massive day to be Irish. Not just for this team but for the players who went before us. We’ve been waiting a long time to beat the All Blacks – it’s such a difficult feat.” – Rob Kearney.

“I thought they played outstanding today and thoroughly deserved the win. Makes up for the last time when they probably should have won too so big credit to them.” – Steve Hansen.

tadhg-furlong-tackled-by-owen-franks-and-sam-whitelock Tadhg Furlong is stopped in his tracks in the 2016 defeat. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

4 – New Zealand 21 Ireland 9, Lansdowne Road, 19/11/16

Turns out we wouldn’t like New Zealand when they’re angry. Just two weeks on from Solider Field, a fired up New Zealand team came to lay down a marker in Dublin. It was a game where the ferocity of the hits tipped over the edge more than once. 

Robbie Henshaw left the field on a stretcher after 10 minutes. Johnny Sexton and CJ Stander soon followed, with Simon Zebo also forced off later in the game. Referee Jaco Peyper came in for heavy criticism for his role in a violently physical game. Aaron Smith and Malakai Fekitoa were both yellow carded but Sam Cane’s reckless hit on Henshaw somehow only resulted in a penalty.

Ireland finished with 66% possession and 70% territory but only registered a trio of penalties. Perhaps more telling was the fact that New Zealand made 193 tackles, exactly 100 more than their hosts.

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

What they said:

“I’d like to see some consistency throughout the game. I saw the same things happening to us.” – Steve Hansen.

“There was a few bits and pieces that didn’t go our way, but ultimately we look at ourselves, and we have to make those bounces of the ball, make those ill decisions go our way by the intent that we show. And we didn’t show that for enough of the game today, which is disappointing.” – Rory Best.

tadhg-furlong-rory-best-cian-healy-peter-omahony-and-devin-toner-celebrate-winning The Ireland bench celebrates a first home win against New Zealand. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

5 – Ireland 16 New Zealand 9, Lansdowne Road, 17/11/18

A Joe Schmidt masterclass. The game was decided by a wonderful set-play from a lineout, which saw Johnny Sexton and Jacob Stockdale link up well before that Jacob Stockdale chip and chase. 

It could have been oh so different. Moments before his wonder try Stockdale almost gifted the All Blacks a score after he saw a chip blocked down, while Peter O’Mahony – who had the game of his life – also prevented a certain New Zealand try when he somehow nicked the ball off the fingertips of Ben Smith.

A day when all of Schmidt’s key men stood up as Ireland recorded a first home win against New Zealand on a famous night at Lansdowne Road.

What they said:

“They’re not the number one team in the world for nothing. We probably had to play our best game of this term and thankfully we managed to do that. It’s a big piece of history and one that we wanted to tick off here in Ireland and now we have done it.” – Peter O’Mahony.

“As I said earlier in the week this was number one versus number two in the world. So as of now they are the number one team in the world.” – Steve Hansen. 

NOTE: This article was amended to correct Steve Hansen quote from 2018.

Well, it’s finally here. Andy Dunne, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey make a call on Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final with New Zealand.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

About the author:

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