James Lowe celebrates Ireland's opening try
James Lowe produced his best performance in the green of Ireland as the hosts claimed a famous win
Ireland (5) 29
Tries: Lowe, Kelleher, Doris Con: Sexton Pens: Sexton, Carbery 3
New Zealand (10) 20
Try: Taylor, Jordan Cons: J Barrett 2 Pens: J Barrett 2

Ireland outplayed New Zealand to claim a statement win in a sensational match held in front of a raucous crowd of 51,000 at the Aviva Stadium.

Trailing by five at the half, the hosts surged into a lead with scores from Ronan Kelleher and Caelan Doris.

The All Blacks fought back through a Will Jordan try and reduced the gap to three with 10 minutes remaining.

But Joey Carbery kicked two nerveless penalties to send the home fans into delirium.

Earlier James Lowe had given Ireland a first-half lead before Codie Taylor’s try saw the All Blacks head into the break with their noses in front.

It is Ireland’s seventh consecutive win, and conclusive proof that this side has the ability to compete with the best in the world under Andy Farrell’s system of expansive rugby.

A lesson to learn from their win over the same opponents in 2018 is that bigger tests will follow in knockout competition – and while Ireland will hope this is not the mountain top, it is a huge moment in the making of Farrell’s team.

Ireland make most of an occasion to cherish

After wins over Scotland and England saw their Six Nations campaign end on a high, the impressive nature of Ireland’s victory over Japan added to the sense of cautious optimism that engulfed Irish rugby circles as the world’s number one side arrived in Dublin.

The question was could Ireland continue to pursue their desired brand of rugby while competing against the world’s best. The answer on Saturday, emphatically, was yes.

As an occasion, the match took on extra special significance on account of it being the first full house at an Irish rugby match since pre-Covid times.

The fans enjoyed every hit of a brilliantly physical game and roared their team on down the final stretch of the game – with the noise that greeted Peter O’Mahony’s 73rd-minute turnover and Carbery’s subsequent penalty from halfway particularly deafening.

Stunning All Black defence repels Ireland in first half

The one-sided World Cup meeting notwithstanding, recent meetings between the two teams have been brutally physical contests with neither side giving an inch.

The battle lines were drawn by both packs early on, with Ireland winning an early scrum penalty and going straight back to the set-piece, only for the All Blacks to win a penalty of their own and opt for another scrum as they fought for early ascendancy.

A thrilling opening half was dominated by last-gasp defence, first by Garry Ringrose and Andrew Conway to send Jordie Barrett backwards, with momentum threatening to carry him over the tryline after the visitors found space from Beauden Barrett’s crossfield kick.

Ireland, as they were against Japan a week ago, were committed to maximising the width of the pitch and found early success as Conway burst through a gap to move into New Zealand territory.

After hooker Taylor was shown yellow for a high hit on Johnny Sexton, Ireland took the ball deep into the 22 and playing with an advantage flung the ball out to the backs, where Hugo Keenan released Lowe with just enough time for the wing to place the ball over the line in the corner.

Their tails up and the crowd rocking, Ireland came again and were playing well enough to create a sizeable lead against most teams – however they came up against a stunning tryline defence that repelled them twice in two minutes to win penalties under the New Zealand posts.

Codie Taylor celebrates his try
Codie Taylor’s try gave the clinical All Blacks the lead after a half in which they were forced to soak up constant pressure

When Tadhg Furlong did eventually get over the whitewash, Ireland’s joy was short lived with the score disallowed for an earlier Kelleher double movement.

Camped in their own 22 for much of the half, New Zealand needed only half a chance to push themselves in front as Dalton Papali’i spotted a gap at the back of the lineout to scamper through and send Taylor in.

Again Ireland came close before the half was over but New Zealand forced a lineout knock-on to preserve their five-point lead going into the break.

Quick start to second half paves way for Ireland win

The half-time interval did nothing to disrupt the relentless flow of the contest, with Ireland again coming out fast and this time finding a way over through Kelleher.

The All Blacks were back-foot boxing for much of the game, a position that relied on steely defence that was delivered to perfection until Taylor missed a tackle on Doris, allowing the outstanding Leinster man to run under the posts as Ireland carved out a 10-point lead.

It was all going the hosts’ way, with the crowd greeting Ringrose’s 50:22 as though he had landed a match-winning kick in the 54th minute.

Again though the All Blacks refused to wilt, coming back this time through wing Jordan who had been kept quiet up until his try, which came after his own chip was gathered and fed back to him by Rieko Ioane.

The visitors thought they had another try shortly after through Akira Ioane but it was brought back for a forward pass, much to the relief of the home crowd.

Joey Carbery kicks a penalty from halfway
Joey Carbery’s penalty from halfway was a huge moment late in the second half

Fly-half Carbery, long seen as the heir to Sexton’s fly-half throne, was introduced with 15 minutes remaining tasked with guiding his side home.

His first penalty was a routine kick but his second, from halfway after O’Mahony had exacted a mighty turnover with the All Blacks threatening to counter, released a pressure valve as Ireland pushed their lead past a converted try, allowing them to see out the final five minutes with relative comfort.

Ireland: Keenan; Conway, Ringrose, Aki, Lowe; Sexton (capt), Gibson-Park; Porter, Kelleher, Furlong; Henderson, Ryan; Doris, Van der Flier, Conan.

Replacements: Herring, Healy, Bealham, Beirne, O’Mahony, Murray, Carbery, Earls

New Zealand: J Barrett; Jordan, Ioane, Lienert-Brown, Reece; B Barrett, Perenara; Moody, Taylor, Laulala; Retallick, Whitelock (capt); Blackadder, Papali’i, Savea

Replacements: Coles, Tu’inukuafe, Lomax, Vaa’i, Ioane, Christie, Mo’unga, Havili

Source: BBC

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