Magical Ireland stun New Zealand

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IRELAND put on a dazzling display in Dublin on Saturday afternoon to see off the mighty All Blacks in sensational fashion. Andy Farrell’s side dominated throughout to seal a brilliant 29-20 victory.

In front of a crowded Aviva Stadium, Ireland put on arguably their best performance in some time to see off the Kiwis, and make it two wins from two in the Autumn Nations Series.

As soon as kick off commenced, Farrell’s men showed hunger and intensity from the start. Having controlled the opening stages and tempo early on, it was on the 15th minute mark where Ireland would get on the board.

New Zealand native, now Ireland hero, James Lowe went over in the corner following a brilliant phase of play by the home side to go up 5-0, Sexton failed to convert after the score.

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New Zealand would reply through the boot of Jordie Barrett five minutes later to cut the score to 5-3 after 20 minutes of play.

After dominating possession and territory through the first half, the hosts were struggling to capitalise on their control of the game, had they been more clinical the score may have been much wider than 2 points after 33 minutes.

The failure to increase the lead in Ireland’s purple patch appeared to come back to haunt them after the 34th minute as Codie Taylor galloped over the white line to put New Zealand ahead, followed by the conversion the lead heading in to the break stood at 5-10 to the visitors.

Ireland would have felt highly unlucky to not be heading into the half time break ahead if at least not level.

The men in green came out in the second half as they had left the first, aggressive and bullying their way in to the opposition 22, this time getting over the line for a fully deserved second score of the game.

The man to grab the points was none other than Ronan Kelleher, who alongside the entire Irish team, had a standout performance. The number two crossed over to level the game 10-10 after 45 minutes.

Not long after, in what was a highly memorable test match, the home side grabbed the lead through Caelan Doris, who also picked up the player of the match for his immense outing. 52 minutes in and Ireland had regained the lead 17-10.

Four minutes later Sexton would add three points onto his sides lead, after 56 minutes Farrell’s side had a decent advantage on the scoreboard at 20-10.

As always, New Zealand can never be counted out and illustrated their class and ability on the 62nd minute mark through mercurial talent Will Jordan to cut the lead down to three, following the converted try, the lead was less comfortable for the home side at 20-17 with a quarter to play in the game.

Joey Carbery would replace Sexton following a HIA late on, but would show his worth to the squad as he slotted three kicks from three in the dying stages of the game.

The lead stood at 23-17 after 66 minutes had passed. However, there was a scare late on as New Zealand had a try scratched off due to a forward pass to make the latter stages uncomfortable for Ireland.

Barrett would again reduce the deficit with a penalty late on, bringing the sides closer. 23-20 was Farrell’s side advantage heading in to the final moments of the captivating contest.

Following Barrett’s penalty, Munster man Carbery would seal the deal late on with two pressurised kicks, in which he calmly put over the posts, the composure and confidence shown by the out-half embodied Ireland’s performance as a whole.

The 29-20 historic win can now be added to the two previous wins against the number one side in the world. Another amazing win that will not be forgotten anytime soon. With many fans shedding tears in the energetic, emotional Aviva at the final whistle, days like this demonstrate the ability this squad have, while showing what Farrell and his coaching staff can achieve with this squad going forward.

Ireland will now turn their attention to Argentina on November 21.

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