|New Zealand (28) 42|
|attempt: J Barrett, Reese, Tobaya, Savia 2, Suakola Negatives: Barrett 6|
|Ireland (5) 19|
|attempt: Graven, Rangerose, Aki Negatives: carbery 2|
New Zealand solidly maintained their impressive unbeaten streak over 28 years at Eden Park by winning six attempts against Ireland to advance 1-0 in the series.
The All Blacks scored four attempts in 17 minutes of the first half in response to Keith Earls’ result to extend their winning streak to 47 Tests at Auckland Stadium.
Both teams scored two goals after the break but the result was no longer in doubt at that point.
Ireland also lost captain Johnny Sexton to a head injury in the first half.
Sexton failed a Head Injury Evaluation (HIA), which left him suspicious of a second test next week.
Ireland, who were chasing their first win over the All Blacks in New Zealand, played well at times – particularly at the start of each half – but couldn’t match their host’s intensity or accuracy long enough to maintain.
The series now moves to Dunedin as New Zealand lead 2-0.
Ireland knows they have their business cut short if they come home with a test win and, most importantly, retain the complacency momentum they have built over the past year and a half.
All blacks are unfazed by Ireland’s quick start
Saturday’s meeting at Eden Park was a reflection of the two sides’ final duel in Dublin eight months ago, with Ireland this time arriving at the end of their season.
While their start was exciting, the visitors looked at the first half as New Zealand shifted gears to dashed any visitors’ hopes of an unprecedented victory.
There is a reason Ireland have never won in New Zealand, and there is a reason the All Blacks have never been defeated in 47 games at Eden Park. Ireland put in their best in the first 20 minutes – and it was a very impressive start – but only led 5-0.
Earls’ attempt in the sixth minute was superb as the strikers put forward stage by stage with a solid load before New Zealand broke the crash and granted Ireland clearance to throw in the back, with Hugo Keenan Earls making a fitting conclusion. .
For visitors, it quickly became apparent. The All Blacks shot their best and there’s still plenty in the tank.
They took the lead in the 21st minute when Jordi Barrett hit the ball in the left flank after an attack by newcomer Leicester Finganoko.
Even at that point Ireland were looking hilarious and back in New Zealand territory, but things really fell apart when James Lowe slipped for a split second before Gary Rangers threw a pass in his direction. The ball hit the surface, allowing Sevo Reis to catch it and run clear for the second home attempt.
To add to Ireland’s misery, this was the step in which Sexton suffered the injury that forced him to enter Hamad International Airport, which he failed.
It was the sequence that blew Ireland away and electrified the Blacks. They built on the momentum with more goals before the break from Quinn Tobia and Ardi Savia, with central defenders Boden Barrett and Aaron Smith playing crucial roles in both.
The All Blacks’ performance was even more impressive given their severe disruptions as Covid-19 tore their coaching staff apart, with defenders Will Jordan, David Haveley and Jack Godhue all ruled out after they tested positive.
If this disrupts the team’s training schedule, you won’t know. Ireland couldn’t avoid the virus either because winger Mac Hansen was off before they had to make a late substitution in Round 23 as Finley Pelham was replaced on the bench by Tom O’Toole.
Realistically, Ireland were in damage-limit mode as the second half kicked in, but faced a 23-point delay, cautioned in the wind and once again found an early reward with an impressive Rangers score.
However, the All Blacks remained in control, and Savea immediately responded with the best singles score of the match as he dodged three Irish tackles to get past the slalom.
As much as they admired the attack, the New Zealanders also defended. Ireland had to work remarkably hard to get its three points and was put off on a number of occasions.
Rieko Ioane’s superb defense prevented Ireland from making two attempts within several minutes, the first with a tackle in the last second that forced Joey Carbery to lose control of the ball as he lay on the ground before taking the ball off Josh van der Fliers. Thrust across the line.
It was so frustrating that Ireland failed to achieve anything after so many skilled passes, which was exacerbated when New Zealand went up to the other end and found the sixth attempt through Beta Goose Swakula.
Bundee Aki came with a late bid to offer solace when Karl Tu’inukuafe finished the match with a trip on Conor Murray in Sin Trap, but by then home fans were in celebration mode as the landslide win was confirmed.
New Zealand: J Barrett. S Reece, R Ioane, Q Tupaea, L Fainga’anuku; Barrett, Smith; Bauer, Taylor, Tongassi, Ritalik, Whitelock; S Barrett, Ken (captain), Savia.
alternative: Taukei’aho, Tu’inukuafe, Ta’avao, Sowakula, Papalii, Christie, Mo’unga, Ennor.
Ireland: Keenan. Earls, Ringrose; Henshaw, Lowe; Sexton (captain), Gibson Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong, Byrne, Ryan; O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.
alternative: Heffernan, O’Toole, Healy, Treadwell, Conan, Murray, Carberry, Aki.