Ireland 16 New Zealand 9: How Ireland beat the All Blacks
Gavin Cummiskey looks at five key moments as Ireland claimed first home win over All Blacks
Bundee Aki and Ian Henderson celebrate at the final whistle of the autumn international against New Zealand at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho
1. Line in the sand – Thou shall not pass
On 13 minutes, with 3-0 on the scoreboard, Brodie Retallick carries hard at the Irish line. The great All Black lock is met on the gainline by James Ryan, who hits low, and Dev Toner, who goes chest high, to send Retallick backwards into the ground. The ball spills loose and Tadhg Furlong pounces to flip up a wonderful offload that sparks an Irish counter attack.
2. Munster captain dominates
Peter O’Mahony made three enormous contributions. There was a phenomenal turnover on 46 minutes that led to the Irish possession before Jacob Stockdale’s try. On the hour mark he somehow got a paw around the bobbling ball a hair’s breath before Ben Smith gathered a Beauden Barrett grubber for what seemed a certain try. Best of all his turnover three minutes later, which beggared belief, left the warrior Cork man paved out and needing to be replaced.
3. The try of tries
Stockdale’s finish will be replayed forever. It was straight from the Carton House paddock with Johnny Sexton switching the play for Bundee Aki who still needed to throw a pass that only a world-class inside centre has the ability to throw. Aki nailed it but the Ulster winger still had to chip the defence and regather before holding off TJ Perenara. Special and so, so difficult to execute against any opponent.
4. The Lucky Break
In the 57th minute Rob Kearney, as ever, went for the dropping ball.
Rieko Ioane got up earlier and higher so clear contact by the Ireland fullback hurt the New Zealand winger, and himself, but referee Wayne Barnes was happy the contact was minimal enough to award an All Black penalty but keep his cards hidden. In the current climate, Ireland and Kearney were blessed.
5. Hammering the Hammer
New Zealand always target the key strengths of their opponents. On 72 minutes of a seven-point Test match, with everything on the line, Iain Henderson put All Blacks captain Kieran Read into the turf with an enormous tackle deep in New Zealand territory. It felt like the moment Ireland fractured the world champions core.