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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 10 December, 2018
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Stunning Stockdale score sees Schmidt's Ireland down the All Blacks again

A sublime defensive effort from Peter O’Mahony and his team-mates was key.

Ireland 16

New Zealand 9

Murray Kinsella reports from the Aviva Stadium

THE ALL BLACKS, typically, brought the game to the death with their relentless attack, but Ireland’s defence held firm yet again as the Fields of Athenry rang out memorably around Lansdowne Road.

Jacob Stockdale celebrates scoring their first try with Josh van der Flier Stockdale scored the only try of the game. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Brodie Retallick knocked the ball on, Ireland’s players sank to their knees and Irish supporters rose to their feet, roaring into the Dublin night.

Joe Schmidt’s record against New Zealand now reads: played four, won two.

Having waited more than 111 years for their first victory over the All Blacks in 2016, Ireland now have two in two years after this sensational success in an unforgettable atmosphere in Dublin.

Jacob Stockdale’s stunning second-half try proved to be the difference between the teams, only minutes after his chip kick was blocked down by Kieran Read and very nearly could have been the difference in defeat.

The formidable and prolific 22-year-old showed his true class in scoring the only try of the game, however, as Schmidt’s side unleashed a searingly intelligent strike play from a lineout in the All Blacks’ half.

The victory was as much built on a grizzled defensive effort, with the back row of Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander sublime in leading the fight.

The Munster captain was forced to limp off in the second half, having left everything on the pitch as Ireland refused to buckle under intense Kiwi pressure and denied them a try. As ever, Johnny Sexton stood up impressively in defence too.

Jacob Stockdale celebrates scoring their first try with teammates Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Nights like this will make it difficult for Schmidt to leave Ireland if that’s what he does after next year’s World Cup but he will be remembered as a great of Irish rugby no matter when he departs.

Beating the All Blacks for the first time ever in Chicago was massive, but a first-ever win over the Kiwis on Irish soil felt even more special.

Ireland took three steps towards the All Blacks as the visitors performed their pre-game haka, then refused to take a step backwards in their first defensive set as van der Flier and Stander combined for a huge turnover penalty metres out from their own tryline in the fifth minute.

Ireland were more clinical with their first visit to the Kiwi 22, an intelligent Schmidt-designed power play off a lineout allowing the brilliant Garry Ringrose to send van der Flier and Keith Earls thundering down the right-hand touchline. The Kiwis were caught offside as they scrambled and Sexton made it 3-0 off the tee.

Captain Rory Best had the ball stripped from his grasp in the 16th minute, allowing the Kiwis to nudge the ball deep into Ireland’s half and catch the retreating Stockdale in the backfield. Rob Kearney was pinged for coming in the side and off his feet as he looked to prevent a turnover and Beauden Barrett levelled the scores from wide on the right.

Ireland continued to apply pressure and the Kiwis gave up penalties, a Liam Squire high tackle on Stander allowing Ireland to kick into the right corner. From there, Sam Whitelock cynically played the ball while off his feet and offside and Ireland opted to go back into the corner rather than take a shot at goal.

Rob Kearney with Rieko Ioane Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Stander was held up over the tryline on the resulting attack, after Healy latched on powerfully, then Ireland’s scrum powered to a penalty under the posts, Sexton slotting it after Ireland had looked to play advantage and Rob Kearney had a possible try correctly ruled out for a knock-on over the line following Sexton’s chip kick ahead.

A poor exit invited pressure back onto Ireland, however, and after Best played the ball while off his feet in a defensive ruck, Barrett popped over a 35-metre drop goal with advantage playing.

Ireland’s next attacking momentum came after Stockdale regained the restart, but Ryan Crotty and Ardie Savea combined for a turnover penalty in the Kiwi 22.

A big Stockdale aerial take and surge gave Ireland more go-forward and the ensuing 15-phase attack ended with an All Blacks defensive knock-on, from where the Ireland scrum again savaged their opposing pack for another penalty.

Ireland again opted to go into the corner and another two penalties came on the ensuing close-range attack, with captain Best opting for the three points despite Sexton’s apparent desire to go back to the corner.

Referee Wayne Barnes warned the Kiwis about the number of penalties they had conceded – 9 in the first half – but his yellow card stayed in his pocket and Ireland led 9-6 on the scoreboard at the break. 

O’Mahony’s knock-on early in the second half looked to provide a dangerous platform for the Kiwis to launch from, then Stockdale very nearly gave up a try when his chip out of the backfield was blocked down by All Blacks captain Read. 

Bundee Aki with Dane Coles Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

All Read needed to do was gather in the bouncing ball and it was a certain try but he knocked it forward to allow Ireland to breathe a sigh of relief.

O’Mahony made up for his earlier error with a superb turnover penalty in the 46th minute and Ireland launched their stunning strike play from the resulting lineout. 

Aki switched underneath Sexton as Ireland played from left to right around 40 metres out from the Kiwis tryline and then fired a pass wide to the left where Stockdale was hidden behind the lineout.

With New Zealand caught off guard and Whitelock on the ground injured, Stockdale burst forward and dinked a delightful chip over the heads of the defence, showing his pace to surge onto it and gather on the bounce, stretching out to score a try that was greeted with a deafening Dublin roar.

Sexton converted to put Ireland in control at 16-6 but they would have been frustrated to miss another chance soon after, Toner winning a five-metre lineout scrappily and replacement All Blacks hooker Dane Coles snaffling the loose ball to allow his team to kick clear.

Kearney’s aerial influence grew as the game headed towards the final quarter, though he did give up a penalty for taking out Rieko Ioane in the air just outside the New Zealand 22.

The All Blacks turned up the tempo on the 60-minute mark, finally getting the kind of ruck speed that makes them so dangerous and Barrett very nearly found right wing Ben Smith with a clever grubber wide to the right in the Ireland 22, only for O’Mahony to show his defensive quality by beating Smith to the bouncing ball and allowing Ireland to clear.

Jacob Stockdale scores their first try Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The respite didn’t last long as the All Blacks built more thunderous attacking momentum to drive back within sniffing distance of the Irish tryline but again O’Mahony had an answer, combining with Best for a brilliant turnover penalty.

It proved to be O’Mahony’s last act of a stunning performance as he limped off to be replaced by Jordi Murphy, the Munster captain’s body spent after a remarkable physical effort.

Still the All Blacks flooded back at Ireland, threatening with every carry. 

And still Ireland found a way to survive, Kearney picking off Barrett’s offload 10 metres from the Irish tryline in the 65th minute, then replacement Iain Henderson gathering in a loose New Zealand lineout throw almost immediately after.

Kearney was next to depart injured as the bruising encounter took its tool before a high tackle on sub Kiwi out-half Richie Mo’unga by Sexton allowed the visitors to take a shot at goal through Barrett, which he slotted from 40 metres out.

Ireland 16-9 New Zealand read the scoreboard heading into the final 11 minutes.

Whitelock won an Irish lineout throw to give the Kiwis another attacking chance but a superb choke tackle from Sexton and Stander on replacement scrum-half TJ Perenara allowed Schmidt’s men to halt the tide once again.

Jonathan Sexton kicks a penalty Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Stockdale was prominent again as Ireland closed out their victory, beating Barrett’s tackle wide on the left to give them crucial territory, then helping Sexton to hammer Ben Smith into touch only metres out from the Kiwis’ tryline.

Though Ireland’s lineout was stolen by Retallick, crucial seconds were ticking by as Hansen’s side cleared to touch near the halfway line.

They came one final time in the dying seconds but Ireland muscled up to ensure a historic home win.

Ireland scorers:

Try: Jacob Stockdale

Conversion: Johnny Sexton [1 from 1]

Penalties: Johnny Sexton [2 from 2]

New Zealand scorers:

Penalties: Beauden Barrett [2 from 2]

Drop goalBeauden Barrett

IRELAND: Rob Kearney (Jordan Larmour ’66); Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny Sexton (Joey Carbery ’79), Kieran Marmion (Luke McGrath ’60); Cian Healy (Jack McGrath ’52), Rory Best (captain) (Sean Cronin ’65), Tadhg Furlong (Andrew Porter ’65); Devin Toner (Iain Henderson ’62), James Ryan; Peter O’Mahony (Jordi Murphy ’64), Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander. 

NEW ZEALAND: Damian McKenzie (Richie Mo’unga ’56); Ben Smith, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty (Anton Lienert-Brown ’62), Rieko Ioane; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith (TJ Perenara ’57); Karl Tu’inukuafe (Ofa Tuungafasi ’47), Codie Taylor (Dane Coles ’57), Owen Franks (Nepo Laulala ’47); Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock; Liam Squire (Scott Barrett ’32), Ardie Savea (Matt Todd ’74), Kieran Read (captain). 

Referee: Wayne Barnes [RFU].

- This article was updated at 10.01am on 18 November to reflect that Matt Todd came on in the 74th minute.

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Murray Kinsella

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