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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 June 2006, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
New Zealand 27-17 Ireland
Byron Kelleher evades Jerry Flannery
New Zealand: (20) 27
Tries: Kelleher, Dermody, McAlister
Con: McAlister 3
Pens: McAlister
Ireland: (14) 17
Tries: P O'Connell, Flannery
Cons: O'Gara 2
Pens: O'Gara
Fourteen points from Luke McAlister were enough to see off a gutsy Ireland in terrible conditions at Eden Park.

With the rain lashing down in Auckland, Ireland had hauled themselves to within three points of the All Blacks with half an hour left on the clock.

Tries from Paul O'Connell and Jerry Flannery, plus seven points from Ronan O'Gara, had given the tourists hope.

But just when a first win over New Zealand seemed possible, McAlister burst through to score under the posts.

Ireland found themselves up against it from the start, although they had the chance to lead when O'Gara fell fractionally short with a long-range penalty.

But then Byron Kelleher burrowed over after Geordan Murphy had lost possession, McAlister converted and the pressure was on.

Chris Jack drove for the line and appeared to play the ball while on the ground, but referee Jonathan Kaplan waved play on and Clarke Dermody dived in for the score.

McAlister added a penalty before Ireland struck back in wonderful fashion before the break.

First O'Connell broke free of a weak covering tackle to rumble over under the posts, allowing O'Gara to convert.

And then, with the All Blacks trapped on their own line, Ireland turned the screw, winning successive penalties but opting to take the line-out instead.

From the second, Ireland drove for the line and Flannery touched down.

O'Gara stepped up with the conversion, and suddenly Ireland were just a converted try away from the lead.

As the weather worsened in the second half, Ireland battled on.

With Peter Stringer using the box kick to good effect and Brian O'Driscoll inspirational in the centre, that elusive first win over the All Blacks seemed possible.

O'Gara landed his first penalty with almost half an hour remaining and the gap was down to just three points.

Both sides struggled to maintain possession as the rain continued to fall.

But it was New Zealand who made the crucial score.

McAlister took the ball 10 metres out, crashed straight through O'Gara's challenge and touched down under the posts.

When he converted his own score, the lead was 10 points with eight minutes on the clock - too much for even this brave Irish side.


New Zealand: Muliaina; Howlett, Laulala, Mauger, Rokocoko; McAlister, Kelleher; Dermody, Mealamu, Hayman; Jack, Flavell, Kaino, McCaw (capt), So'oialo.
Replacements: Cowan, Rawlinson, Tialata, Hore, Newby, Hill, Nonu.

Ireland: G Murphy; Horgan, B O'Driscoll (capt), D'Arcy, Trimble; O'Gara, Stringer; Horan, Flannery, Hayes; O'Callaghan, O'Connell; N Best, Wallace, Leamy.
Replacements: R Best, Young, M O'Driscoll, Gleeson, Boss, Girvan Dempsey, Hickie.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (SA)



SEE ALSO
International photos
17 Jun 06 |  Photo Galleries
O'Driscoll praises Irish spirit
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Clockwatch: NZ 27-17 Ireland
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NZ to 'clean Irish off the park'
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Ireland look to dominate up front
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Irish unchanged for Auckland Test
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Kaino handed chance by All Blacks
13 Jun 06 |  Internationals
O'Driscoll laments Irish mistakes
10 Jun 06 |  Internationals
New Zealand 34-23 Ireland
10 Jun 06 |  Internationals


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