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Saturday Jul 16, 2022

Ireland create history in New Zealand

A truly unbelievable third test to an historic series.

In recent years there has been a lot of debate around the future of rugby as a game. However, New Zealand and Ireland just gave us a test series, and deciding game which should remind everyone why we the sport.

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It was a third test that lived up to the billing and more.

Ireland started the game much like the previous two tests – hard and fast. A try within the first five minutes from Van Der Flier set the ball rolling and in the first 40, Ireland didn’t look back.

Brilliant structured defence stifled the All Blacks attack, while controlled kicking ensure Ireland won the territory battle. After a shocking miss of the tee by Jordie Barrett, New Zealand eventually got their first points of the game which was shortly followed by a beautiful Irish score.

Set up by a dominant maul, the away team showed some good hands and a delightful miss pass left the ball in Hugo Keenan’s hands who still displayed good strength to dot down.

Outside centre Robbie Henshaw was immense on both sides of the ball and was rewarded with a try just before half time, leaving the scores at 3-22 with 40 minutes of the test series to go.

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There would have been some strong words from All Blacks head coach Ian Foster during the break as he watched his side make a large number of mistakes.

Not learning their lessons from previous weeks, New Zealand continued to make unforced handling errors and gave away penalties for unsafe clear out at rucks.

However whatever was said at half time clearly worked.

New Zealand came out as a different team. They scored two tries within the first 13 minutes of the second half and put themselves right back into a position to win the came.

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A controversial yellow card to Ireland’s Andrew Porter for a head on head collision also helped the home side.

After a penalty from Johnny Sexton, the exciting Will Jordan then scored an absolute beauty for the All Blacks where he showed superb pace to make the scores 22-25 in favour of Ireland.

With barely a moment to catch your breath, Ireland bit back with a strong driving maul which resulted in a try near the corner.

The final ten minutes was pure chaos! Both teams going for it, New Zealand looking certain to score and then Tadhg Beirne pulling through with ridiculous number of heroic defensive plays.

With the crowd at fever pitch and only a few seconds to go Ireland managed to win a scrum in the New Zealand 22 which all but won them the game, and the series.

It was a truly monumental conclusion to a unbelievable test series.

The final whistle was created by scenes of pandemonium by the men in green and legends of the Irish game like Peter O’Mahony were reduced to tears. It was the first time an Irish side has won a series in New Zealand.

As for the All Blacks, it will be a time of self reflection and media scrutiny, not least for head coach Ian Foster who will have lots of questions regarding his future.

This Irish series victory is nothing short of historic and they will be full of confidence going into the world cup next year.

Rugby at it’s very very best!

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