WHEN THE LAST of the lights were switched off at Eden Park it was just after midnight – it was hard to imagine that a spectacle of superb, running rugby had unfolded there just three hours before.
The Irish players, humbled 42-10 by a scintillating All Black side, left by bus just after 11pm (NZ time) and more than one had been walking gingerly.
Before he could get into the post-mortem after his side’s defeat, Ireland coach Declan Kidney was forced to address a raft of injury queries.
Kidney commented, “(Cian) got a knock in the shoulder so we will have to look at that and see how it goes in the next 24 hours.
We will have to see how Mike Ross, too, is holding up and Declan Fitzpatrick, obviously, pulled up with a tight hamstring.
“Other bangs and knocks are what you would expect so nobody is ruled out,” he added. “(Keith Earls’) shoulder is a little bit sore too but I could give you names of half a dozen lads that are like that too.”
The All Blacks’ injury update? Victor Vito got a bad cut above his eye but should be fine for next Saturday’s match in Christchurch.
A long way from there to here
Four New Zealand players came out to address the media scrums and were decked out in expensive suits, complete with the Silver Fern emblem, as they stood in front of sponsorship signage.
Fergus McFadden, Peter O’Mahony and Jamie Heaslip slipped into the room in their Irish team tracksuits and sat patiently while the victors laughed, joked and talked of improving for next week.
Heaslip, as is his post-match custom, worked away on an apple and tried to remain positive.
“We gotta wear it,” he admitted, “we created a lot of mistakes, a lot of turnovers. We’ve just got to wear it.”
We’ve got to look at the video, and it is not going to be nice, but that is international rugby.
“If you make a mistake, a team like New Zealand are going to put seven points on you, like they did every time we made a mistake.”
The tackle, not the tries
Julian Savea admitted earlier in the week that he was nervous to be in the company of All Black stars such as Richie McCaw and Dan Carter but he looked anything but against Ireland.
You can see a player scoring superb tries on television and you can talk to his coaches and teammates but witnessing Savea live, in action, this evening was a pleasure.
His pace and power, and the way he linked up with Israel Dagg, was immense.
Rob Kearney and Fergus McFadden were terrorised by the duo and Savea was taken off with more than 20 minutes to go to a rousing reception from the home fans.
New Zealand’s backs coach, Ian Foster said, “In the shed afterwards, the thing I praised him about probably wasn’t the three tries.
It was that first kick that Dan Carter put down the line, (Kearney) just ran it back and Julian smashed him and created three points (from the resulting penalty).
As for the AB’s coach. Steve Hansen remarked that the ‘young man on the wing wasn’t bad, was he?’
*You can follow all the latest news, comments and goings on from the Irish camp by following @patmccarry on Twitter and by regularly checking in with TheScore.ie.