Monday, November 22, 2010
The All Blacks continued their classy assault of the northern hemisphere with a convincing 38-18 win over Ireland at Lansdowne Road in what was the most entertaining game of the weekend.
Ireland competed valiantly for parts of the game but New Zealand managed to score tries with what looked like languid ease as they did what they do best, following the adage of letting the ball do the work.
Kieran Read crossed for two tries while second rowers Sam Whitelock and Anthony Boric each scored one. Dan Carter, looking back to his best on this tour, kicked 18 points as he came within a few points of edging Jonny Wilkinson as the highest Test points scorer of all time.
Carter has said he was keen to kick some of the opportunities at goal that captain Richie McCaw turned down. "I didn't know how many points I needed, I just wanted to take the kick," Carter said. "When I found out afterwards I gave Richie some stick about it!
McCaw, who with Mils Muliaina jointly achieved the record for All Blacks caps on the night, said that he wasnt aware of Carter being so close to the points record.
"Dan obviously knew how many points he was on because I had no idea, I wasn't thinking like that," said McCaw. "He said to me afterwards, 'Jeez, if you'd given me that I would have got the record'.
"I thought, 'Oh well, next week!'. Had I known I don't know if I'd done it any differently. The difference between a 15 and 18-point lead isn't much, so I thought we'd put the pressure on. But now I understand why he was asking for the shot at goal!"
While they lost by 20 points, one of the highlights for Ireland was an incredible try scored by midfield marvel Brian ODriscoll as he swooped down to pick up a loose ball as though he were on the training field. He scooped it up then dived over for a great try.
Flanker Stephen Ferris, who scored the first try of the game, has since questioned the All Blacks methods of slowing the ball down at the breakdown.
"If I'd been a referee I would have handed out a couple of yellow cards," said Ferris.
"It's hard because when you're in the middle of the pitch you get fast ball, but when you're in their 22 it keeps getting killed. It's the same old faces that are doing it, but they're good at it and get away with it. Richie McCaw did a great job at slowing it down. It's frustrating, but they're also good at poaching the ball legally," he added.
Ireland play Argentina next, while the All Blacks head to Wales looking for the Grand Slam.