Andrew Porter scores twice as the men in green beat the All Blacks on NZ soil for the first time
Historic win for Ireland in New Zealand
There was drama aplenty in Dunedin as Ireland achieved an historic 23-12 victory over New Zealand.
The men in green had never beaten the All Blacks on New Zealand soil before this triumph, which sets up a fascinating series decider in Wellington next weekend.
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton gave a measured response in his post-match interview. He used words like “delighted” and “unbelievably happy” but was already looking ahead to that third Test and creating more history now they are level at 1-1.
Two tries for Andrew Porter were crucial to achieving a famous victory, as was Ireland’s ability to continually pile on the pressure with Tadhg Beirne and Peter O’Mahony heavily involved. But the All Blacks didn’t help themselves with their errors and ill-discipline, including a red card.
The visitors stunned the All Blacks by scoring a try within three minutes, with captain Sam Cane saying his side were “beaten out of the blocks”.
Ireland were able to deploy their quick phase game in the opening stages and Beirne burst through the All Blacks’ defensive line to make it into the 22.
A few phases later, with Mack Hansen making a couple of prominent carries, Porter powered through the tackle of Quinn Tupaea to score next to the posts.
A conversion and penalty from Johnny Sexton made it 10-0 to Ireland after 12 minutes.
Then three cards – two yellow and one red – were shown to the All Blacks in 15 minutes!
First, Leicester Fainga’anuku was sin-binned in the 17th minute for a dangerous chargedown on Hansen. He leapt into the air to try to block the kick and as he came to ground made contact with Hansen’s head with his shoulder.
The fact that initial contact was on the chest saw Jaco Peyper show a yellow rather than red, although the recklessness of the act meant some felt he should have been sent off.
Next, Ofa Tu’ungafasi joined Fainga’anuku in the sin-bin in the 25th minute after tackling Garry Ringrose off the ball when Sexton had made a break down the blindside. A penalty try was considered but the officials felt there was enough defensive cover.
Then around the half-hour mark, Angus Ta’avao was sent off for a head-on-head hit on Ringrose. The prop, who came on to cover tighthead for Tu’ungafasi with Dalton Papalii going off, went to tackle Ringrose and there was a nasty head clash.
As Ta’avao went in high, never dropping his height, and there was direct head contact, he was shown a red card. He was already heading for the tunnel as he had come off worse from the collision. Ringrose was also forced off.
Aidan Ross then had to come on for his debut in the front row but it was uncontested scrums with both tightheads carded by then.
Ardie Savea was taken off to account for that replacement but New Zealand should have actually taken off two players because if scrums are uncontested due to incidents of foul play, the offending team has to lose an additional player (and pack down with eight in the scrum). It was similar to what we saw with Ireland-Italy in the Six Nations.
There was a bizarre incident when New Zealand ended up with 15 players on the pitch after Tu’ungafasi’s sin-bin period had ended as Papalii and Savea both came back on.
This was spotted by the officials and they ruled that Savea had to return to the bench, staying off for the remainder of the match.
Remarkably, New Zealand went in at half-time trailing only 10-7 after Beauden Barrett scored under the posts before the break. Ireland had not been able to capitalise on any of the time they had a numerical advantage and it was 14 v 14 early in the second after James Ryan was sin-binned.
Yet, it was Ireland who struck first in the second half too. It was that fast phase play that once again stretched New Zealand and took Ireland within five metres. Then Porter burrowed over between the posts from close range.
Sexton added the conversion and two penalties made it 23-7 to the visitors heading into the final ten minutes.
The All Blacks did have a few chances – a Caelan Doris tap tackle on Jordie Barrett crucial – but the Irish dominated territory and possession for the most part.
New Zealand pummelled the opposition line after Ireland conceded a penalty in the 73rd minute and the hosts were able to kick for a lineout in the 22. Further penalties followed but the All Blacks were ultimately held up over the line, allowing Ireland to clear.
The Kiwis came again in the 78th minute and Will Jordan crossed in the corner to reduce the deficit, but there was not enough time to overhaul Ireland’s lead.
So how did try-scoring hero Andrew Porter feel after an historic win in New Zealand?
“Tired,” he joked to Sky Sports. “It’s emotional but the job is not done. We’ve created a bit of history today but it would be even sweeter if we can pull off the win next week as well. We’ll throw everything at it.”
Onto Wellington! It should be a cracker.
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