Rugby | Ireland beat New Zealand 16-9 in Dublin

Rugby | Ireland beat New Zealand 16-9 in Dublin

Ireland have recorded an historic victory over New Zealand in Dublin.

Joe Schmidt’s produced a stunning performance to beat the All Blacks 16-9 at the Aviva Stadium.

It is just the second time Ireland have beaten New Zealand, and the first time on home soil.

The home side led 9-6 at half time, before Jacob Stockdale’s second half try sealed an incredible victory.

Ireland started well, and Johnny Sexton opened the scoring with a penalty in the 11th minute, and Beauden Barrett drew the visitors level with a penalty of his own six minutes later.

There was no shortage of tenacity and intensity to the game, with both sides racking up a staggering 103 tackles between them in the opening 17 minutes.

Ireland thought they had scored the first try of the game in the 27th minute, but replays showed that Rob Kearney had knocked on Sexton’s clever kick before grounding it.

Play was called back for an earlier advantage, which Sexton duly converted to restore Schmidt’s side lead.

Barrett scored a beautiful drop goal two minutes later to restore parity, but Ireland continued to pile on the pressure.

Relentless attacking pressure resulted in another Sexton penalty on the stroke of half time, and the hosts entered the interval with a six point lead having outplayed the All Blacks for most of the half.

Ireland performed superbly at the scrum, and Devin Toner was imperious at the lineout. The only negative – if there was one – was that the Six Nations champions didn’t lead by more than three points.

Early in the second half, Stockdale almost paid the price for an audacious dink in his own half which was blocked down by Kieran Read, but the New Zealand skipper fumbled the ball, knocking it on, and a sheepish Stockdale was let off the hook.

All three of the New Zealand back row were substituted by the 46th minute, which illustrated the efficiency of the Irish front row.

In the 47th minute, Stockdale scored the only try of the game.

And what a try.

Sexton found Aki with a clever pass following an Irish lineout, and Aki shunted the ball out wide to the onrushing Stockdale.

The 22-year-old tried another audacious kick, but this one was weighted to perfection. He raced past the New Zealand defenders and collected his own kick, and managed to squirm over the line under pressure.

Sexton converted to give Ireland a 10 point lead.

The excellent Rob Kearney was then possibly lucky to escape a yellow card in the 55th minute after taking out Rieko Ioane in the air.

Peter O’Mahony made an incredible interception on the hour mark to prevent what looked a certain try, and the Munster man forced another important turnover a minute later.

New Zealand cranked up the pressure in the last 20 minutes, but Ireland stood tall – with the aid of the raucous crowd – and defended valiantly against the mass of All Black attackers.

Barrett scored his third penalty with 11 minutes left on the clock, but the number one ranked team in the world couldn’t find another way through in the dying minutes.

The Fields of Athenry reverberated around the ground as New Zealand searched in vain for a late try, and the roar was deafening as Ireland forced the mistake which sealed a phenomenal victory.

All Blacks manager Steve Hansen claimed beforehand that today’s winners could claim to be the world’s best team, and Ireland will certainly feel on top of the world after that performance.

 

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