Ireland bossed territory and possession but failed to repeat their Chicago heroics as they lost 21-9 to an ill-disciplined New Zealand in Dublin. Joe Schmidt’s side failed to convert a host of half-chances to add to the historic 40-29 win they achieved over New Zealand in the United States a fortnight ago, letting the All Blacks off the hook.
New Zealand had Aaron Smith and Malakai Fekitoa sin-binned while conceding 14 penalties but still managed to escape with the win.
Centre Fekitoa plundered two tries to add to his yellow card, with world player of the year Beauden Barrett back on form to also claim a try.
Ireland boasted 67 per cent possession and 70 per cent territory, but only wound up with three penalty goals to show for it.
The All Blacks were stung by their first-ever defeat to Ireland at Soldier Field. While New Zealand are hardly back on form, they did leave Dublin with the win.
A furious Ireland side felt Barrett’s match-winning try came courtesy of a forward pass, leaving captain Rory Best stalking referee Jaco Peyper for a television match official (TMO) review that never came.
New Zealand unleashed full fury from the outset, retaining their kick-off and hurtling into every skirmish.
Scrum-half Conor Murray miscued his grubber to undermine an excellent Ireland turnover, and the All Blacks pounced. Barrett’s skimmed crossfield blast dropped sweetly for Fekitoa, who stepped inside Murray and bundled home.
Ireland No.8 Jamie Heaslip powered over counterpart Kieran Read, and Sean O’Brien thundered for the whitewash. The Leinster man surely saw himself scoring – but somehow Barrett hauled him in to hold him off the ground.
CJ Stander bullocked on from the scrum, but was again denied over the line. Ireland opted for pragmatism, with stand-off Jonny Sexton converting a penalty to trail 7-3.
Andrew Trimble nearly intercepted a New Zealand pass for what would have been a canter home but knocked on, and instead it was the visitors who were shortly on the scoresheet again, Barrett ghosting in off a scrum.
A second irish penalty meant the tie remained finely poised with New Zealand 14-6 ahead at the break.
Paddy Jackson, on for injured Sexton, fired over a penalty amid more Irish pressure to leave New Zealand leading 14-9 on the hour.
Finally Ireland were within one score – but then New Zealand turned it on.
Fekitoa eased home thanks to Barrett’s fine inside-ball offload to TJ Perenara. Referee Jaco Peyper immediately awarded the try, much to Ireland’s fury. Replays suggested Barrett’s pass moved forward, but Peyper had few qualms in opting not to call on the TMO.
Ireland captain Best took the hugely unusual step of approaching Peyper while Barrett lined up his conversion, breaking standard protocol of remaining behind the try-line.“There’s too much at stake,” said Best in asking for a referral before being waved away, as Peyper’s decision had to stand.