History was made in Dunedin as Ireland beat the All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time. The visitors made hard work of their historic triumph at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, failing to take advantage of numerical advantages in the first half despite Andrew Porter’s early try.
The Leinster prop crashed over for his second early in the second half, and Johnny Sexton kicked Andy Farrell’s team to their win to level the series.
There were some outstanding performances in the 23-12 win with Beirne and O’Mahony magnificent up front.
Here’s how the Ireland players rated.
15. Hugo Keenan – 7
Solid under the high ball but unable to shake the shackles of the hosts’ wide defence.
14. Mack Hansen-7
Would have started last week but for Covid, the Connacht man offered more of a threat than Earls on the right wing.
13. Garry Ringrose – 6.5
He would’ve scored after Sexton’s break that saw Tu’ungafasi binned. Nice touches in the opening half hour before he was flattened by Ta’avao and forced off.
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12. Robbie Henshaw – 9
Strong with ball in hand into heavy New Zealand traffic. Shifted to 13 when Ringrose went off; offered a second direct runner in midfield and cut down the hosts’ space out wide.
11. James Lowe – 6
Used his boot well to relieve pressure, and a willing runner off 9. However, some really costly errors.
10. Johnny Sexton – 8
So much made of his inclusion, but remains such an important cog for Ireland. Should he have taken the points with the All Blacks down to 14, then 13? He backed his side of it, but they were unable to make numerical advantage pay on those occasions.
9. Jamison Gibson-Park – 7.5
Helped build momentum in the run-up to Porter’s score, and offers good variety. Kept the All Blacks guessing. A vital penalty won at the breakdown off Bower’s break shortly before he made way.
1. Andrew Porter – 8.5
Showed his power to finish both of his tries. Strong at the scrum too, sorting out issues of a week ago. A huge shift.
2. Dan Sheehan – 7.5
Quieter than last week as his team-mates stepped up, but ensured the lineout functioned and put himself about. A real workhorse.
3. Tadhg Furlong – 8
Clearly sorted out set-piece problems and put Bower under pressure. His hands are so good, but he used to punch holes in the hosts’ defense more often than usual.
4. Tadhg Beirne – 9
A great break in the run-up to Porter’s first try, and a huge carry in the run-up to his second. Some powerful work in the tight and held up the All Blacks late on.
5. James Ryan – 7.5
Won an important early lineout as part of an impressive opening quarter, but found himself in the sin-bin after conceding a couple of soft penalties.
6. Peter O’Mahony – 8.5
The set-piece is his area of expertise. He won some important lineouts and imperious at the restart. Outstanding in the second half – including a lovely 50:22 kick and stops Taukei’aho with superb defence.
7. Josh van der Flier – 9
He was everywhere. A magnificent performance. A constant threat at the breakdown and gets through so much work on either side of the ball. Carried well in the run-up to Porter’s first try.
8. Caelan Doris – 8.5
After a quiet game last weekend, back to his best. Carried strongly and another big threat at the breakdown. A vital tap tackle as Jordie Barrett broke through.
16. Rob Herring – 6
Missed his first lineout but threw himself about thereafter looking to make amends.
17. Cyan Healy – 6.5
Looked like his tour was over against the Maori All Blacks, but on for the last 15 minutes. He added his weight to a huge late scrum.
18. Finlay Bealham – 6.5
Another of Ireland’s front row reserves who missed last week. Continued where Furlong left off with a huge scrum after entering on 63 minutes.
19. Kieran Treadwell – 6
On for the final 10 minutes, replacing James Ryan.
20. Jack Conan – 6.5
On for the final quarter of an hour. replacing Doris and got stuck in on defense with the All Blacks chasing the game.
21. Conor Murray – 6.5
Tasked with seeing the game out for the final 12 minutes.
22. Joey Carberry – 6
Beaten by Jordie Barrett as Jordan gave the All Blacks late hope, but did make an important intervention on Fakatava moments after coming on.
23. Bundee Aki – 7.5
On for Ringrose on the half-hour. Should have been used 5m out to carry with the All Blacks three men off the field. Showed his pace and power in the build-up to Porter’s second try. Late turnover sealed the win.
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