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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series clash with the All Blacks, Ciarán Kennedy here to bring you all the action as it happens from the Aviva Stadium.

There was lots to like about Ireland’s performance against Japan last weekend, but are Andy Farrell’s side ready for this massive step up, and can they bring some of that same attacking intent to today’s game? We’ll find out shortly. In the meantime, do let us know your predictions in the comments section. 

As usual, there’s plenty of good reading on The42 to keep you entertained pre-game, starting with Murray Kinsella’s match preview, which you can find here.

The All Blacks will look to test that defensive growth and Ireland will need to hit a new peak for 2021 to win today.

There has understandably been great excitement about their attacking performance last weekend against Japan when there were real signs of the direction in which Farrell and attack coach Mike Catt are pushing this side, but there will be fewer opportunities today.

It’s now five years since Ireland finally got over the line and beat New Zealand for the first time. Garry Doyle looks back at that famous day in Chicago, which you can read here.

Anthony Foley had passed away just three weeks prior to the Ireland-New Zealand game and as the memories came crowding in, as the world selfishly continued on its way, it was clear that the rugby players who knew him simply had to acknowledge their friend, coach, mentor, in a memorable and respectful way.

Greg Feek could sense it. A friend of Foley’s, the then-Ireland scrum coach, has a creative mind. Feek’s a New Zealander. He had performed the haka as a player, faced it as a coach. He knew its symbolism and its power but also knew this deep, emotional reservoir building within his own squad.

And here’s the New Zealand team, with Ian Foster going full strength after making wholesale changes for last week’s win over Italy.

One of the few big calls facing Foster was at out-half, with two-time World Player of the Year Beauden Barrett getting the nod ahead of the in-form Richie Mo’unga. This will be Barrett’s seventh outing against Ireland. You can look back at his previous six here.

beauden-barrett Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Quite the atmosphere at the Aviva. The anthems are done, now it’s Haka time.

3mins

Some encouraging flashes already in the opening couple of minutes, with Garry Ringrose showing nice hands and Hugo Keenan making a smart break down the middle. Ireland then move the ball out wide to Andrew Conway and make good ground but the Munster man runs into a brick way. Ireland move back inside and eventually conceded a penalty, but that’s a very positive start from Andy Farrell’s side, and the crowd are loving it.

6mins

First scrum and on a New Zealand put-in, Ireland hold firm but the All Blacks get quick ball out. The All Blacks work the ball to Ardie Savea but great pressure from Caelan Doris and Tadhg Furlong sees Savea spill the ball, and we go for an Ireland scrum. There’s a real look of intent to Ireland’s start so far.

12mins

A couple of scrum re-sets killed some of the early tempo to the game. Conway then gets pinged for a tackle in the air and New Zealand kick to touch. They win the lineout and go for a crossfield kick to Will Jordan who gets stopped just short of the line, and as the All Blacks start to get numbers over Ronan Kelleher produces a big intercept to relieve the pressure, and Ireland survive their first big defensive test of the afternoon.

Kelleher then overthrows a lineout but Sexton recovers, and Ireland go through the phases before Sexton tries a kick to Conway, which doesn’t come to anything – but we’re going to have a TMO check for a late hit on Sexton.

13mins: Yellow card – Codie Taylor

The TMO check is for a swinging arm – Codie Taylor on Sexton. The All Blacks hooker could be in trouble here… and it’s a yellow card.

16mins: Ireland 5 New Zealand 0

Ireland get the first try of the game, and it all started with a great kick to touch by Sexton. Kelleher found James Ryan from the lineout, and Ireland maul before going to their phase game. With a penalty advantage Ireland hammer at the line before moving the ball out wide, and a brilliant pass from Hugo Keenan plays in James Lowe, who produces a great finish in the corner under pressure.

Sexton’s conversion pulls just wide, but Ireland will be really happy with their start here.

20mins: Ireland 5 New Zealand 3

Jordie Barrett kicks New Zealand’s first points, splitting the posts after Ireland cough up a penalty from the restart following Lowe’s try.

24mins

Referee Luke Pearse isn’t happy with the amount of chat. Dane Coles makes a point of highlighting how much Sexton is talking, using some interesting language to convey his point… 

From the next play, Caelan Doris produces a massive turnover – with help from James Lowe, who has started really well on both sides of the ball here. 

Ireland then get a massive shove in the scrum and the All Blacks fold. A couple of huge moments in quick succession there, and Sexton goes to the corner again. Ireland sense a second try here…

25mins

Ireland get right in front of the posts and Josh van der Flier has a go at the line, but New Zealand win a penalty and survive.

29mins

Ireland 5 New Zealand 3

More great attacking play by Ireland but New Zealand are holding firm. Worryingly for Ireland, Johnny Sexton could be trouble, he’s be down getting treatment on his leg for a couple of minutes now.

TRY – Tadhg Furlong!

Scratch that – no try. A double movement.

31mins

This is a mile a minute now. Furlong powers over and the Aviva erupts, but the score is crossed off for a double movement. Meanwhile, Sexton is still on the pitch following that earlier bang, but Beauden Barrett has been sent for a HIA and will not be returning.

35mins: Ireland 5 New Zealand 10

Well, that’s what New Zealand do.

Having been on the back foot for much of this opening half, New Zealand now lead. They break off a lineout and Codie Taylor crosses to put the visitors ahead just moments after Ireland thought they had scored a second try. Ireland won’t be happy with their defence there.

Jordie Barrett adds the conversion and somehow, Ireland trail.

38mins

Johnny Sexton isn’t happy after another late hit. 

Ireland are back inside the New Zealand 22 now, with Sexton and Lowe both going close. Gibson-Park then spills a pass just short of the line after great work from Conan and the All Blacks clear the danger again.

With 38 minutes played, Ireland have made 37 tackles, New Zealand are on 144.

And breathe… What a half of rugby. New Zealand lead by five at the break but Ireland have left so many chances behind them – you just hope that doesn’t prove costly come full-time.

The last attack of the half saw Ireland spill a lineout ball forward in a great position. Overall, Andy Farrell will be really happy with what he’s seen but his team will need to be much more clinical if they’re to turn this around.

We’ll be back with all the second-half action shortly.

SECOND-HALF

41mins:

Sexton gets the second half underway. A huge half of rugby coming up.

44mins: Ireland 10 New Zealand 10

How about that for a start to the second half? More great play from Ireland with Aki and Sexton linking up superbly in the middle, before Ireland close in on the New Zealand. After a couple of snipes Ronan Kelleher powers over from close range – with a great latch from Iain Henderson. Sexton’s conversion strikes the posts, leaving the scores level.

48mins

First Ireland change of the day. Iain Henderson off for Tadhg Beirne. A good shift for the Ulster man.

TRY – CAELAN DORIS!

51mins: Ireland 17 New Zealand 10

Caelan Doris with a superb finish, producing a wonderful step to cut through the All Blacks defence. That is just top class from the Leinster man as the Aviva erupts again. Sexton converts and Ireland are in a really strong position now. What a performance.

57mins: Ireland 20 New Zealand 10

A gift of a penalty right in front of the posts allows Sexton extend Ireland’s lead to 10 points.

58mins:

Couple of changes for Ireland. Van der Flier and Kelleher make way for Peter O’Mahony and Rob Herring.

63mins: Ireland 20 New Zealand 17

For the second time in this game, New Zealand strike against the run of play.

Will Jordan takes possession on the wing, clips the ball over Hugo Keenan and gets a free run at the posts following a brilliant interchange with Sevu Reece. Barrett converts and it’s a three point game again. Buckle up.

65mins

A standing ovation as Johnny Sexton makes way following another heavy bang. Joey Carbery will see out the last 15 minutes of this game and his first action will be to strike a penalty.

65mins: Ireland 23 New Zealand 17

Carbery clips over a close range penalty and Ireland lead by six points with 15 minutes to play. Finlay Bealham is on the pitch now, replacing Furlong. 

69mins

A huge moment as New Zealand see an Akira Ioane try crossed off for a forward pass. We go back for a New Zealand penalty.

70mins: Ireland 23 New Zealand 20

It’s a simple kick for Jordie Barrett in front of the posts and it’s a three point game again as The Fields of Athenry rings around the stadium. Conor Murray looks set to come in shortly.

72mins

Keith Earls is on for Bundee Aki, and Conor Murray has replaced Jamison Gibson-Park.

73mins

Another huge moment as James Lowe makes a great read with a massive tackle on Reiko Ioane smack on the halfway line, and O’Mahony swoops in with the turnover and it’s an Ireland penalty. The Leinster man really enjoyed that one. Joey Carbery is going to take this on from halfway line…

74mins: Ireland 26 New Zealand 20

A monster kick from Carbery, and it pushes Ireland back into a six point lead.

78mins

Tadhg Beirne gets his turnover, but there’s a knock-on so we’ll have a scrum. Luke Pearce is losing his voice amid the chaos here.

79mins

Ireland win a penalty and that might be it!

Carbery has the kick to put Ireland nine points clear…

80mins: Ireland 29 New Zealand 20

Ireland lead by nine with 30 seconds to play. 

What a performance, and what a win. That’s as good an Ireland display as we’ve seen for a long, long time. A nine point win, and it could have been even more when you consider the opportunities that Ireland let slip in the first half.

There were so many outstanding performances all across the pitch, with Caelan Doris and Garry Ringrose both exceptional, while James Lowe will be delighted with some of his contributions in defence. 

A statement win for Andy Farrell’s Ireland. We’ll have a full report and all the reaction from the Aviva Stadium up on site shortly. Thanks for joining our live coverage today, it was certainly a good one.

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Ciarán Kennedy

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