Dublin - Six
Nations holders Ireland beat world champions New Zealand for the first
time at home on Saturday, winning a frenetic contest 16-9 in Dublin.
A converted Jacob Stockdale try - his 12th in 14 Tests - proved the
difference as the hosts came out on top in the clash between the two
top-ranked teams in the world.
For Ireland, who claimed an 11th successive home win, it was their
second victory under New Zealander coach Joe Schmidt in four meetings
with the All Blacks, having recorded their first-ever in Chicago in
"We showed real character out there today," said Ireland captain Rory
"The difference to two years ago here in Dublin (a 21-9 loss) is
we didn't score any tries. Today we did.
"I am so proud of the boys."
All Blacks skipper Kieran Read said there were no excuses.
"The Irish were too good for us," Read told RTE. "They defended really well."
The Irish were pinned back inside their five-metre line early on but
produced tackle after tackle - prop Cian Healy making five in around 90
seconds - and eventually excellent work by Josh van der Flier won the
hosts a penalty to clear.
Ireland then took the game to the All Blacks with New Zealand-born
Bundee Aki - who had sung his adopted country's anthem in Gaelic with
great gusto - prominent in their attacks.
Eventually the pressure told and Read strayed offside, with Johnny
Sexton slotting over the penalty to give the home side a 3-0 lead in the
Ireland had spoken all week about how important it was not to make
mistakes, even deep inside All Blacks territory, and they paid the price
when Best spilled the ball inside the visitors' 22.
A long kick back upfield by Ben Smith resulted in Rob Kearney
ultimately being penalised and Beauden Barrett converted the penalty to
level the match.
though, had their opponents rattled and forced the Kiwis into
infringement after infringement in a desperate effort to keep them out.
One of those led to Sexton's delightful chip over the defence which
saw Kearney touch the ball down, but the try was ruled out on review as
he lost control of the ball.
However, Sexton kicked the penalty for 6-3 as the game neared the half-hour mark.
Within a minute the visitors were level as Barrett, having waited
till his 71st Test to drop his first goal against England last week,
But it was all Ireland in attack and the All Blacks were so unnerved
that referee Wayne Barnes had to warn Read that the next player to incur
his ire would be yellow-carded after they committed their seventh
offence of the half.
Sexton chose to kick and converted it for a 9-6 half-time lead.
The All Blacks had a golden opportunity to turn the game around five
minutes into the second half when Read charged down Stockdale's
ambitious chip, but the rangy No 8 knocked on.
The New Zealand scrum were being steam-rollered by the Irish and
coach Steve Hansen rang the changes only eight minutes after half-time,
removing all of his front row.
Their first job was to stand behind the posts as Stockdale found that if you keep probing, things can come off.
He received the ball from Aki and then chipped, outstripping the
defence to collect it before barging over despite Aaron Smith's
It brought him a mobbing from his team-mates and regular first-choice
scrumhalf Conor Murray - who has not played all season due to a neck
injury - to his feet while watching on from a box in the stadium.
Sexton converted brilliantly for 16-6.
The All Blacks hit their straps at last but time and again the Irish
repelled them, with Peter O'Mahony preventing a certain try by getting
back to gather Barrett's brilliant grubber kick.
O'Mahony forced another turnover a few minutes later and had his
team-mates pumping their fists in the air and the Irish fans launching
Barrett added a penalty to put the visitors a converted try away from
a draw, but such was the stoutness of the Irish defence, the world
champions came up short.
15 Rob Kearney, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob
Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Josh van der
Flier, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best
(captain), 1 Cian Healy
Substitutes: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack
McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Luke
McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Jordan Larmour
Damian McKenzie, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11
Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain),
7 Ardie Savea, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3
Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu'inukuafe
Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20
Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo'unga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown