Ireland 18 - 38 New Zealand: Irish vexed by New Zealand tactics

Stephen Ferris has expressed his dismay that New Zealand escaped punishment for their cynical play at the breakdown in Saturday's victory over Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland's final-quarter siege was repeatedly undermined by the grand slam-chasing tourists' unwillingness to concede quick ball. Even when a yellow card seemed inevitable, referee Marius Jonker refused to fill the sin-bin, leaving Ferris to admire and resent the All Blacks' adeptness at spoiling in equal measure.

"If I'd been a referee I would have handed out a couple of yellow cards," said the Lions blindside flanker, a tryscorer in the first half. "It's hard because when you're in the middle of the pitch you get fast ball, but when you're in their 22 it keeps getting killed.

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"It's the same old faces that are doing it, but they're good at it and get away with it. Richie McCaw did a great job at slowing it down. Peter Stringer was screaming at the referee a couple of times to try and get the ball away quicker It's frustrating, but they're also good at poaching the ball legally."

Nevertheless, Jonker's refusal to reach for his cards hardly affected the outcome. A salvo of two tries in four minutes scored by Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock shortly after half-time gave the All Blacks an unassailable 33-13 lead.

Ireland's response was to rattle the tourists, who were left scrambling furiously, with Brian O'Driscoll's sensational one-handed pick-up and finish rewarding their endeavour.

However, Read ran in a second try and Anthony Boric also crossed while Dan Carter missed just one goal en route to gathering 18 points. All that prevented them from finishing more handsome winners was the resilience and ambition shown by Ireland, who clearly appreciated the perfect conditions.

No 8 Jamie Heaslip and O'Driscoll were magnificent, fly-half Jonathan Sexton composed and Ferris a constant thorn in New Zealand's side.

Ferris' 31st-minute try arrived after a forward pass from Heaslip, but Jonker missed a similarly obvious foul for Whitelock's touchdown so there was little sense of grievance.

The final quarter saw Keith Earls denied by a try-saving tackle from Cory Jane while Denis Leamy knocked on with the line beckoning.

Ferris said: "The scoreline maybe flattered them a bit. There were a lot of tired bodies afterwards but New Zealand knew they had had a game. It was fast and furious and a good spectacle. I know what the result says but the boys felt it was a lot closer and we'll take great confidence out of the performance.

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"We had them under the pump for a while in the final quarter but that spell after half-time when they scored two tries showed what New Zealand can do."

Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Ferris, O'Driscoll; Pens: Sexton (2); Con: Sexton.New Zealand: Tries: Boric, Read (2), Whitelock; Pens: Carter (4); Cons: Carter (3).

Ireland: Kearney, Bowe, O'Driscoll (capt), D'Arcy, Fitzgerald, Sexton, Reddan; Healy, Best, Court, O'Callaghan, O'Driscoll, Ferris, Wallace, Heaslip. Replacements: Cronin, Hayes, Toner, Leamy, Stringer, O'Gara, Earls.

New Zealand: Muliaina, Jane, Smith, Nonu, Gear, Carter, Ellis; Woodcock, Elliot, Franks, Boric, Donnelly, Kaino, McCaw, Read. Replacements: Hore, Afoa, Whitelock Messam, Mathewson, Donald, Bill Williams.