We were at the lion’s den – Eden Park – and home to the world champion All Blacks.
Ireland have good memories of the Auckland ground and beat Australia here last September in the World Cup. The paths of both sides diverged somewhat since but Declan Kidney’s men were fired up for this encounter.
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New Zealand 42-10 Ireland
8.17 – Good morning Ireland, good evening to those of you in New Zealand and ‘hi’ to all you lot in other timezones.
A rock band are belting out some generic tunes to rouse the troops here at Eden Park.
I had a vision of The Simpson’s earlier when Moe asked Homer to visualise beating Dedrick Tatum in a world heavyweight bout. All Homer could manage was Tatum getting ruled out due to a congenital heart defect. The All Blacks can’t be accused of having weak tickers any more, especially after their World Cup win last October.
Line-ups to follow …
Ireland: Kearney; McFadden, O’Driscoll (captain), Earls, Zebo; Sexton, Murray; Healy, Best, Fitzpatrick, Tuohy, Ryan, O’Mahony, O’Brien, Heaslip.
New Zealand: Dagg; Guildford, Smith, Williams, Savea; Carter, Smith; Woodcock, Hore, O Franks; Retallick, Whitelock; Vito, McCaw (captain), Read.
8.29 – It is in Spanish but hopefully you get the point!
YouTube credit: danigaara
8.33 – Anthems done and dusted – here comes the haka …
8.35 – Fireworks at the end – Ali Williams looking like a looper again and threatening as hell. Weepu led the chants. Ireland, subs and all, lined up closely. Zebo was singing up a storm in the national anthem section.
Carter to kick off …
8.38 – Good take from Zebo under the high ball and Ireland get an early scrum after Savea knocked on in the tackle.
8.41 – New Zealand 3-0 Ireland: Hands in the ruck after Ireland lose a scrum and Dan Carter slots a simple penalty.
8.43 – New Zealand 3-3 Ireland: They get it straight back though as the ABs go off their feet. Positive start for Sexton, who slots over from 30 metres out.
8.46 – Sean O’Brien batters into Sam Whitelock and fells the giant and Rob Kearney has been lively. He took a ball that O’Driscoll flung behind his path but grab on with one hand and charged down the left wing. The second scrum was more positive for Ireland.
Cian Healy has pulverised Sonny Bill Williams. O’Driscoll then finds Earls and Ireland are a few metres short of a Zebo try on the left wing. Ryan has delivered three huge tackles too.
8.52 – A harsh penalty gives Carter the chance to edge his side ahead and he lands a beauty from the halfway line – New Zealand 6-3 Ireland
8.54 – Three more for New Zealand as Dan Carter converts excellently from the halway again. The penalty was given after Julien Savea destroyed Rob Kearney in a tackle on the right wing – New Zealand 9-3 Ireland
8.57 – Measue of payback for Savea as Rory Best dumps him with a hefty challenge. Trouble next as we lose a scrum and are called back for seconds after a delayed feed by Murray.
9.00 – Great defence from Ieland as the All Blacks set up camp on their line for three minutes. Huge hit from Declan Fitzpatrick in the middle of it and Williams went closest for the home side. 25 minutes gone.
9.02 – TRY NEW ZEALAND!
9.03 – Julien Savea races free after Dan Carter slips him in. It all came down to great work from Conrad Smith as he drew in Earls and McFadden before offloading. New Zealand 16-3 Ireland
9.05 – Savea slices up through the middle again and Sean O’Brien is guilty of a bad missed tackle. Rob Kearney flies in with the ankle tap and O’Mahony does well to steal the ball in the ruck. Ireland breathe again but it is looking ominous.
9.11 – Simon Zebo so close again but he is chopped down on the left with one man to beat. Two minutes of Irish pressure in the New Zealand 22 but they are getting battered back in the tackle. Play breaks down and the All Blacks stream forward, with Israel Dagg chipping and chasing. Zebo needs to be quick in defence know as he slides in to take the ball out of play.
9.13 – Conor Murray – you tough bugger! He stands up to Whitelock’s one-on-one gallop from two yards out. Ireland try to run their way out of trouble before wisely clearing through Sexton.
9.14 – TMO – Looks like Savea has a second try
9.15 – New Zealand 21-3 Ireland – McFadden is sucked in as Dagg sets up Savea, who crashes over and touches down despite the best efforts of Murray and Kearney.
9.17 – Carter with a tough conversion but no worries for him. New Zealand 23-3 Ireland
9.19 – HALF-TIME and not a moment too soon for Ireland. New Zealand almost had a third but Kearney held up Guildford. The enormity of the challenge awaiting Ireland to try climb back into the second half is gigantic. New Zealand are purring.
9.31 – Here we go – second-half …
9.33 – Murray looks like he has been given a few minutes to get his backline moving. Reddan was almost on after the break but Kidney must have had a change of heart – for now.
9.33 – TRY NEW ZEALAND!
9.36 – They do not know how to handle Dagg and Savea! A charge up the left wing and Dagg has Kearney in a twist before eventually popping a pass for Savea to hare over. Zebo is nearby but he slides on by. New Zealand 30-3 Ireland – A procession
9.41 – They are after McFadden here and you can’t blame them – he is drawn in again by Smith but there are enough green jerseys around to snuff out the threat for now.
9.44 – McFadden beats McCaw in a foot race to touch down. Sexton gets the conversion. Super work in the build-up by Rory Best. New Zealand 30-10 Ireland
9.50 – Read is held up by Earls and O’Driscoll as Ireland try to hold the ABs at bay. Ronan Loughney replaces Fitzpatrick to make his debut. Some start as the home side win the scrum and Adam Thomson crashes over for a TRY! – New Zealand 35-10 Ireland as Carter misses his conversion.
9.54 – Three Irish subs limbering up. O’Brien crashed over the tryline but play had been called back. 20 minutes to go.
9.59 – Reddan, McLaughlin and O’Callaghan on for Murray, O’Mahony and Tuohy. Ireland trying to stave off more All Black pressure and a rout.
Unreal stuff. Looked like McFadden had a second try but Nigel Owens had called it back for offside. That 80 metre sprint was all for nothing. New Zealand scrum. Damn it anyway.
10.08 – Cian Healy is down and injured badly. A Mexican Wave has started. Double blow!
10.09 – Nuts. Healy is so badly injured that Sean Cronin, a hooker, has been forced to replace him.
10.16 – Three minutes left and no need to tell who who is on the attack but, if I must, it is the All Blacks. Conrad Smith was raging not to connect with Cruden before Dagg snipes through about three Irish tacklers. Here comes the rain too. Perfect.
10.18 – TRY! Smith finally gets his reward for a fantastic performance as Cruden sets him up to dive over to the right of the posts. New Zealand 42-10 Ireland after Carter nails the conversion.
10.21 – Carter almost, almost stabs us even more but Kearney chases him down on the right wing. The ball spills out and it is FULL-TIME.
10.23 – Hard to argue with that. Ireland clap off the victorious All Blacks. Stay with us during the curse of the day to hear the reactions from both camps.