Ireland prevailed 23-12 in a test of high intensity to beat the All Blacks on New Zealand soil for the first time in Dunedin on Saturday, taking full advantage after the hosts had lost Angus Ta’avao to a red card in the first half.
Prop Andrew Porter scored two tries and skipper Johnny Sexton added 13 points from the kicking tee as Ireland squared up the three-match series 1-1 ahead of next week’s decider in Wellington.
New Zealand’s discipline cost them dear with two yellow cards in addition to Ta’avao’s red in the first half and they had to be satisfied with a try from flyhalf Beauden Barrett just before halftime and a late consolation for winger Will Jordan.
Six years after their first victory over New Zealand in more than a century of trying, Ireland have now won four of the last seven encounters with the three-times world champions.
“Delighted, no team has ever done it before,” said Sexton. “We’re delighted with the win but we have a chance to win a series here and they don’t come along too often.”
As in their 42-19 loss in Auckland last week, the Irish tore into the All Blacks from the start and scored an early try through Porter after a series of clinical raids on the home try line.
Sexton added a penalty after 14 minutes and the disciplinary problems soon started for the All Blacks when Leicester Fainga’anuku was shown a yellow card for high contact on fellow winger Mack Hansen.
Prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi joined Fainga’anuku in the sin bin after 25 minutes and the All Blacks were perhaps fortunate his early tackle on Garry Ringrose did not result in a penalty try.
Their luck did not last and on the half hour mark Ta’avao, on as prop replacement for Tu’ungafasi, clattered head-first into centre Ringrose’s face and was shown a red card.
All Blacks number eight Ardie Savea was forced off the field when Tu’ungafasi returned but the Irish were unable to take advantage and ended the first half on the back foot.
On their first foray deep into the Irish half, New Zealand hammered away at the line before Barrett fortuitously got a boot on the ball, which went through the legs of a defender and enabled him to touch down.
Ireland lock James Ryan was shown a yellow card during the All Blacks siege, leaving both sides with 14 men for the first 10 minutes after the break.
The visitors were 17-7 ahead by the time he returned after another multi-phase wave of attacks resulted in Porter barging his way over the line for his second try.
Ireland kept their composure as the All Blacks came back at them and Sexton kept the scoreboard ticking over with two more penalties, the second 12 minutes from time to take the lead out to 16 points.
New Zealand kept battering away at the Irish defence in the final 10 minutes and finally managed to get the ball to Jordan in space with two minutes on the clock.
“They’re a quality outfit and they bounced back in a big way tonight,” said All Blacks captain Sam Cane.
“They were too good tonight.”
Press Release, Source: REUTERS