42 min: “New Zealand are clearly the better team in this game but it’s interesting how their kicks all seem to defy the laws of physics and bounce back,” emails Frank. Yes, I agree, Smith’s was clearly a hit.
Here we go.
“Watching with my newborn baby and explains to him how this is typical Ireland – Sexton goes and we part ways,” emails Michael Keane. “Also asks him if he would like to be a midfielder at next year’s World Cup reserves remain and Ireland still hasn’t seen one. What happened to Carbery? He has been nameless since his arrival.”
Sexton failed the HIA, so we won’t see him again today.
A fantastic start by Ireland, but it seems like a distant memory now after a four-test from New Zealand, who have built what is now an absolute lead. Johnny Sexton was also injured. If Ireland can start the second half like they did, though, there may still be a game in the second half. For more you will see in a few minutes.
A little reading for you:
This is the first half of two halves, and then some. It all fell apart for Ireland in the last 20 minutes. Smith drives forward after a sniping run through a tired defence. He can’t collect the ball himself, but manages to chip the ball down the right – several Irish defenders rush past the ball, and Savea pounces on it to score. The TMO checks it and says Smith is clearly playing the ball backwards, so it’s not a tackle, but I’m not entirely sure that’s true… Although the try stops.
Front rower Bower makes contact around the Irish 22 and Barrett then hits a corner. Ireland win the series but then lose the ball when Gibson-Park is turned while attempting an ambitious counterattack. Ireland’s defense is not set up, Beauden Barrett pulls a fine thunderbolt to the claps, and Tupaea calmly waits for it to break before gathering and pouncing. The TMO checks for offside but it’s all good.
Was it Gibson-Park’s bravery or stupidity?
Ireland attack on the left side. Ringrose intercepts a pass. Lowe is also rocking. Sevu Reece flicks the ball expertly and spins almost the length of the field to score to applause. O’Mahony, among others, follows through with the games, but he has no catch. After a very successful start, a few moments of indolence let the visitors back inside.
Meanwhile, Sexton went for what appeared to me to be a hit from Can’s leg over the head, a fortuitous one, after Sexton slipped before contact. Carbery is on the fly-half. Another blow for Ireland.
29 min: The All Blacks, who looked numb under the pressure, line up in their own half and Ireland have possession again.
26 min: Ireland have played most of the rugby but find themselves behind … Sexton will be upset that he missed that transfer and he makes light of it. That is the difference between balance and the acute deficit that Ireland now faces.
However, Farrell’s side are asking questions in attack, with James Lowe trying to get on the end of a kick on the edge of the All Blacks 22.
The visitors attack softly on the right, then on the left, and Barrett heads back in thanks to a clever pass after debutant Fainga’anuku barely makes it onto the line. Barrett nails it for overtime.
19 min: New Zealand are enjoying a bit of front-foot ball and are heading to Ireland 22. It’s a reminder that from the first few minutes, it’s all Ireland. Just before that Sexton tried a daring chip and chase in the middle of Ireland. Farrell wanted to see courage, he certainly does.
17 minutes: A great start indeed, but only a start for now.
15 minutes: New Zealand win a scrum penalty in the Irish half. A welcome extra point. From the back line, Ireland pulls the ball back. Sexton goes forward and Keenan loads very, very close to Gibson-Park where a clear run might have gone down the line. Instead, he is drawn by back-up Jordie Barrett who reads wonderfully. And it would have been a yellow card for the All Blacks if he had put that one down after hitting it…
11 minutes: Jordie Barrett launches a sniping run from deep on the home side’s left. It’s brought down, and Peter O’Mahony flicks the ball off the bench, making New Zealand No 9 Smith look a little silly. O’Mahony goes ahead and Earls is almost on top of it, but is tied inside the home 22. It’s all going Ireland’s way now, given the industrious way Andy Farrell’s men have started the match.
10 minutes: A tackle by Ringrose on Cane forces a scrum and break for Ireland on the halfway line. New Zealand are going backwards on the field and they are behind in the scoreboard. There are some worried faces in the All Blacks squad. If they thought this was going to be an ‘easy’ night, or at least straightforward, they might think again.
Ireland win a slightly lucky penalty for offside. It gives them a chance to move into the All Blacks half for the first time. And they form an excellent attack, moving in many phases and stretching the home defense, with Gibson-Park returning from the base. Sheehan and Keenan show top class control and consistency as Ireland approach the series. The ball is sent wide thanks to a very good pass under pressure from Keenan… What a start for Ireland! Sexton can’t get the kick right, and it’s a shame to get five points from the visitors’ first real possession for such a successful attack, but Ireland take it.
2 min: A long time of kick tennis is happening. Hugo Keenan initially controls a loose ball in the Ireland 22, but steps up to play it to Sexton. New Zealand runs it from this other property. Sheehan almost has an impact on a conversion, but is knocked off the ball, only. A low kick in the corner and it’s Ireland’s line five meters from their line.
Beauden Barrett kicks off! He sends the batter up the middle. Ireland takes place in the first round…
Ireland 12 defeats from 12 in all Tests in New Zealand so far.
Here comes the Haka.
Don’t forget, you can email me or tweet with any thoughts on the match.
The teams are on the fieldit’s time for anthems, and the start is under five minutes.
“It doesn’t get any bigger from Eden Park on a dry evening,” Ireland head coach Andy Farrell told Sky Sports. “We know the challenge ahead of us but we’re excited at the moment…
“I want to find some courage. I want to see that we are from the word ‘Go’ itself.”
In the struggle of every year between domestic and international sport, with rugby more poised than anywhere else, this weekend opens the latest window for the international game to take a break. Marketers mean business, however, if the strength of the communications teams, which is often reduced this time of year, is anything to go by.
Finlay Bealham of Ireland has tested positive for Covid so Cian Healy comes into the 22. There are a few debuts for New Zealand: Leicester Fainga’anuku is on the wing, and Chiefs No 8 Pita Gus Sowakula is on the bench.
New Zealand: J. Barrett, Reece, R. Ioane, Tupaea, Fainga’anuku, B. Barrett, Smith, Bower, Taylor, Tu’ungafasi, Retallick, Whitelock, S. Barrett, Cane, Savea. Replacements: Taukeiaho, Tuinukuafe, Taavao-Matau, Sowakula, Papali’i, Christie, Mo’unga, Ennor.
Ireland: Keenan, Earls, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe, Sexton, Gibson-Park, Porter, Sheehan, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris. Replacements: Heffernan, Healy, O’Toole, Treadwell, Conan, Murray, Carbery, Aki.
Advisor: Karl Dickson (RFU)
Ireland have waited a long time to beat New Zealand: 111 years, to be exact. Since they finally won in Chicago in 2018, the floodgates have opened, and Ireland now have three wins against the All Blacks on the books, the most recent in November 2021.
However, they still beat New Zealand in New Zealand. What does it mean for Andy Farrell’s side to do so over the next few weeks? Anything and everything, but mainly everything, both as a milestone in their journey to next year’s World Cup, and in its own right as one of rugby union’s great achievements.
As with Wimbledon and the Tour de France, the event has not been affected by Covid, with a number of players and coaches sidelined. Former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has even been drafted in as a stop-gap by New Zealand to lend a hand.
It’s the start of a summer of rugby with England in Australia and Wales in South Africa, but this could be the best yet.
Start: 8.05am BST.