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Ireland 3-22 New Zealand

Ireland (3) 3
Pens: O'Gara

New Zealand (10) 22
Tries: Penalty try, Nonu, Thorn Cons: Carter 2 Pen: Carter

By John Haughey

Ireland's hopes of a historic first win over the All Blacks were dashed as the visitors took a second step towards a potential home nations 'Grand Slam'.

The hosts had several lucky escapes before Dan Carter kicked a penalty, Ronan O'Gara replying after 38 minutes.

New Zealand were awarded a penalty try before half-time when Tommy Bowe palmed the ball into touch on his own tryline.

Ma'a Nonu and Brad Thorn added further tries on the resumption as the visitors took control of a disjointed encounter.

Ireland had a scare in the opening minute when Jimmy Cowan charged down O'Gara's attempted clearance but Rob Kearney got back to avert the danger.

The Irish had another let off in the fourth minute when Carter missed a straightforward penalty and the home side claimed a vital turnover two minutes later after Mils Muliaina had stormed through midfield.

606: DEBATE
TwoWrongsMakeItRight

New Zealand were coming at the home side in waves and Luke Fitzgerald made a vital tackle as Muliaina charged towards the line in the eighth minute.

Despite the All Blacks pressure, the Irish somehow reached the 20th minute without conceding any points as the home side finally began to make forays into opposition territory.

David Wallace's break cheered the home fans - with Bowe failing to hold the pass - after the Munster flanker had beaten three attempted tackles.

Carter missed a glorious chance to put New Zealand ahead after 24 minutes from straight in front of the posts but the fly-half finally opened the scoring two minutes later, from a similar position.

His opposite number O'Gara was having a nervous opening half with a couple of errant kicks while the Irish line-out was also under pressure.

Reaction - Ireland 3-22 New Zealand

O'Gara regrouped admirably two minutes before the break to land an equalising penalty after Alan Quinlan was fortunate not to see the award reversed when he raked his studs on Rodney So'oialo's back.

But the Irish suffered a massive blow in first-half injury time when referee Mark Lawrence awarded the All Blacks a penalty try, which led to Bowe being sin-binned.

The Ospreys winger raced to intercept a dangerous chip with Richie McCaw poised to pounce and, after consulting with the television match official, the referee ruled Bowe had deliberately prevented a try by flicking the ball into touch inches short of the tryline.

Dan Carter (centre) tries to fend off Alan Quinlan (right) and Luke Fitzgerald
Dan Carter is bottled up by Alan Quinlan and Luke Fitzgerald

It was a huge call but on balance, looked the correct one.

New Zealand lost their man advantage two minutes into the second half when prop Tony Woodcock was yellow-carded for a punch on Rory Best.

However, the All Blacks were turning the screw and Ali Williams charged over the Irish line after some sloppy home tackling on 45 minutes only to be held up by some desperate defence.

Within five minutes the game was over as Nonu and Thorn exploited gaping holes in the Irish defence.

Nonu's superb flat pass to the charging Joe Rokocoko set up the 47th-minute try with the centre taking the return and easily outspriting the limping Paul O'Connell to touch down.

Carter added the extras to put New Zealand 17-3 ahead and more agony followed for Ireland with Thorn's 53rd-minute score after a looping Sitiveni Sivivatu pass, with lone defender Bowe left hopelessly outnumbered.

Ireland had numbers out wide in the 57th minute but Marcus Horan sent his pass hopelessly into touch, which summed up the misfiring home team.

O'Connell yielded to the inevitable when his injury forced his departure on 62 minutes and Kidney went on to use all seven replacements.

New Zealand squandered further chances in the closing minutes and the sad reality for Ireland was that the All Blacks had not played anything like their best.

By the end the 82,000 crowd, and maybe the home players as well, were wondering how they had convinced themselves during the week that Ireland's barren run against the All Blacks might be about to end.


Ireland: G Dempsey; T Bowe, B O'Driscoll, L Fitzgerald, R Kearney; R O'Gara. T O'Leary; M Horan, R Best, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, A Quinlan, D Wallace, J Heaslip.
Replacements: J Flannery for Best 58, T Buckley for Hayes 77, S Ferris for O'Connell 62, S Jennings for Wallace 77, E Reddan for O'Leary 68, P Wallace for Fitzgerald 75, K Earls for Dempsey 71.

New Zealand: M Muliaina, J Rokocoko, C Smith, M Nonu, S Sivivatu, D Carter, J Cowan, T Woodcock, K Mealamu, N Tialata, B Thorn, A Williams, J Kaino, R McCaw (capt), R So'oialo.
Replacements: C Flynn for Woodcock 68, J Afoa for Kaino 45, P Weepu for Cowan 59, S Donald for Rokocoko 75, I Toeava for Smith 65
Not used: A Boric, K Read

Referee: M Lawrence (South Africa)



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see also
Autumn Tests - as they happened
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
International photos
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
O'Driscoll eyes All Blacks scalp
12 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
NZ make 11 changes for Irish game
11 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 55-0 Canada
08 Nov 08 |  Irish
Scotland 6-32 New Zealand
08 Nov 08 |  Scottish


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