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Schmidt watches on as clinical Black Ferns have too much class for Ireland

Ireland couldn’t cope with the searing counter attack of the Kiwi visitors.

Ireland 8

New Zealand 38

Murray Kinsella reports from the UCD Bowl

JOE SCHMIDT WAS part of a noisy crowd of 1,810 people in UCD as New Zealand, the number one team in the world, proved far too clinical for Tom Tierney’s Ireland.

The Kiwis were lethal on kick return and turnover possession, scoring six tries in total as they cut the Irish defence apart in the second half.

The Ireland team after the game Ireland huddle up after their defeat. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The defeat marks a disappointing end to the November series for Ireland, who have lost to England, Canada and the Kiwis in the last three weeks.

These Tests were always likely to be an uphill task for Ireland as they looked to build greater depth and experiment tactically, but there was a gulf in class this afternoon at UCD.

Outside centre Portia Woodman was a star for the Kiwis, scoring a hat-trick that included a sensational 60-metre individual effort, while fullback Selica Winata also did major damage with ball in hand and scored two tries of her own.

Ireland’s attack struggled to get any foothold on the game, with several failures on set-piece starter plays preventing Tierney’s side from building real pressure on the Kiwis.

The home team had done well to get to half-time trailing only 5-3, but the amount of defensive work they had to put in began to show clearly in the second half as the Kiwis’ superior attacking qualities shone through.

New Zealand made an ominous start to the game as a smashing hit by Woodman on Claire McLaughlin dislodged the ball and kick-started a period of Kiwi pressure that ended with the opening try.

They earned a penalty, opted for the corner rather than a shot at three points, then launched a ruthless set-piece strike as a wonderful one-handed offload by Charmaine McMenamin freed fullback Winata to score wide on the right.

Nora Stapleton with Hazel Tubic Nora Stapleton scored Ireland's first-half penalty. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Kendra Cocksedge missed the conversion, before Paula Fitzpatrick made some big plays to get Ireland into the game. First, she broke from the base of a scrum and offloaded to Ciara Griffin.

Next, a brilliant turnover inside the New Zealand 22 that led to a penalty for Ireland for a no-arms tackle. However, out-half Nora Stapleton’s shot at the posts was wide to the left.

Ireland then had reason to feel aggrieved with referee Sara Cox as she incorrectly ruled that Maired Coyne was offside in chasing a cross-field kick from Niamh Briggs.

Coyne and hooker Cliodhna Moloney thought they had combined to score a try, only to turn around and see Cox waiting back near halfway for the penalty. The UCD crowd was similarly surprised.

In a scrappy, penalty-strewn encounter, Claire Molloy began to have a major influence with her groundhog skills, while Sene Naoupu had some important moments in defence as Ireland soaked up pressure.

A good counter-attack from Coyne and Naoupu drew a penalty as New Zealand went off their feet at the breakdown and Stapleton finally got Ireland off the mark with three points after 30 minutes.

The repeated infringements added up for Ireland as Moloney was sin binned for a ruck offence just before half time, although another vital turnover from Molloy meant Ireland got to the break 5-3 behind.

But the numerical disadvantage told on the other side of the interval, as New Zealand hammered their way to within striking distance and then spread the ball through the hands of Kelly Brazier and Chelsea Alley to Winata in clear space wide on the left for her second try.

Sene Naoupu celebrates Niamh Kavanagh's late try Niamh Kavanagh scores a late try for Ireland. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Cocksedge missed with her conversion effort again, before returning Ireland captain Niamh Briggs gave her team some momentum with an outside break and offload. McLaughlin and Molloy followed suit, but Ireland got no scoreboard reward again.

Naoupu made an incredible try-saving tackle on Winata on the 52-minute mark, preventing a brilliant solo try, but the Kiwis continued to flood at Ireland with their attacking creativity.

Openside Angie Sisifa cleverly broke off a midfield maul soon after, dummying past one defender and feeding Woodman for her first try under the posts.

The outside centre’s second was even better, as she beat four defenders from 60 metres out with her footwork and scorching pace. Her third came from a cheap turnover at the breakdown, with Woodman scooping the ball up to race clear.

Out-half Kelly Brazier danced through the Irish defence for the Kiwis’ sixth try, before Ireland managed a late consolation effort through replacement Niamh Kavanagh, who dotted down in the right corner to ensure that Ireland, at least, ended on a bright note.

Ireland scorers:

Try: Niamh Kavanagh

Conversion: Niamh Briggs [0 from 1]

Penalties: Nora Stapleton [1 from 2]

New Zealand scorers:

Tries: Selica Winata [2], Portia Woodman [3], Kelly Brazier

Conversions: Kendra Cocksedge [3 from 5], Hazel Tubic [1 from 1]

IRELAND: Niamh Briggs (captain); Claire McLaughlin, Nicole Fowley (Niamh Kavanagh ’66), Sene Naoupu, Mairead Coyne; Nora Stapleton (Jackie Shiels ’72), Larissa Muldoon (Mary Healy ’52); Lindsay Peat (Fiona Hayes ’63), Cliodhna Moloney (yellow card ’35) (Leah Lyons ’63), Ailis Egan (Fiona Reidy ’72); Maire-Louise Reilly, Orla Fitzsimons (Nichola Fryday ’57); Ciara Griffin (Leah Lyons ’39 to ’46) (Ciara Cooney ’57), Claire Molloy, Paula Fitzpatrick.

NEW ZEALAND: Selica Winata; Honey Hireme, Portia Woodman, Chelsea Alley (Hazel Tubic ’53), Renee Wickliffe (Janna Vaughan ’66); Kelly Brazier, Kendra Cocksedge (Kristina Sue ’74); Toka Natua (Aldora Itunu ’61), Fiao’o Faamausili, Aleisha Nelson (Aotearoa Mata’u ’53); Eloise Blackwell (Jackie Fereti ’61 – yellow card ’79), Charlene Gubb; Charmaine Smith, Angie Sisifa (Sharnita Woodman ’72), Charmaine McMenamin.

Replacements not used: Sosoli Talawadua.

Referee: Sara Cox [RFU].

Attendance: 1,810.

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Murray Kinsella

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