Player Ratings: More than Irish Luck
OPINION: Ireland made history once again as they toppled the All Blacks in Wellington to claim a series victory in New Zealand for the first time ever.
A stunning first-half showing from the tourists laid the foundations for Andy Farrell’s side, as they went in 19 points up at the break.
There might have been panic when the All Blacks came back after the interval, but unlike Dublin in 2013, they weren’t able to nudge in front.
Tadgh Beirne, Henshaw and Josh van der Flier were totemic for the visitors, while the hosts had given themselves far too much to do. A try from replacement Rob Herring sealed a famous win. On another historic night for Irish rugby, here’s how the men in green stacked up.
Gavin Harper rates the Ireland players
15. Hugo Keenan – 8
Finished his seventh international try brilliantly, and kicked well to put the hosts under pressure. Couldn’t do anything to stop Akira Ioane but otherwise defensively sound.
14. Mack Hansen – 7.5
Put consistent pressure on the hosts in the air. Limited opportunities to attack, but some nice touches when he did get on the ball.
13. Robbie Henshaw – 9
Some outstanding defensive contributions and thoroughly deserved his try.
12. Bundee Aki – 8
Just the man for this type of contest. Direct with ball in hand, defensively solid and calm under pressure to put his old Connacht midfield mate over for his try. Nearly put Lowe away on the hour after cutting a lovely line.
11. James Lowe – 7.5
Answered some of his critics with an excellent first half. Did superbly to put Keenan away for his try. Also made a wonderful clearance kick relieved pressure on the tourists.
10. Johnny Sexton – 8.5
Kicked superbly and drove Ireland’s attack so well in an outstanding first half. Passed 1,000 international points.
9. Jamison Gibson-Park – 8
With Sexton, controls the team so well. Did well when Ireland were on the back foot early in the second half to get front-foot ball that allowed Sexton to stem the flow of All Blacks points.
1. Andrew Porter – 7.5
Got through plenty of work, but not the impact of last weekend. Gave away a couple of penalties, and was perhaps fortunate his card was yellow.
2. Dan Sheehan – 8
Some lovely footwork and an outstanding pull-back pass at the line as Henshaw scored. But a bad missed tackle on Akira Ioane as he scored.
3. Tadhg Furlong – 7.5
Not his flashiest performance but always gets through so much work. Made a big hit on Akira Ioane in the first half, but couldn’t stop Ardie Savea in the second.
4. Tadhg Beirne – 9.5
Supreme. The Munster man was everywhere. A constant threat at the breakdown, won a couple of lineouts on the home throw and showed his reading of the game with interception as All Blacks grew into second half.
5. James Ryan – 8
His best game of the series. Played his part in a maul turnover and stole a couple of the hosts’ lineouts. Powerful late carries late on took Ireland home.
6. Peter O’Mahony – 8
Didn’t quite hit the heights of last weekend, but still a menace when the hosts attacked and some lovely touches in the wide channel on attack. Forced a turnover when the All Blacks looked to maul. His tears at full-time said it all.
7. Josh van der Flier – 9
Some really vital contributions again from the Leinster man, including the vital early try. Won a huge turnover penalty as the home side attacked the 22 that ultimately led to Equally vital turnover penalty that led to Keenan’s try.
8. Caelan Doris – 7.5
Didn’t quite have the same impact as opposite number Savea. Went more route one with ball in hand and put his tackles in.
16. Rob Herring – 7
A magnificent finish to turn the game in Ireland’s favour shortly after he came on.
17. Cian Healy – 6.5
A brief cameo for the veteran during Porter’s stint in the sin-bin, before he returned late on.
18. Finlay Bealham – 6.5
Outstanding scrum on his own 5m just after coming on with 10 minutes to go.
19. Kieran Treadwell – 6
On for the outstanding Beirne late in the piece.
20. Jack Conan – 6
On for the final 15 minutes to replace O’Mahony.
21. Conor Murray – 6
Came on to see out the historic win.
22. Joey Carberry – 6
On for the final four minutes to replace the skipper.
23. Keith Earls – 6
On late in the midfield and made his tackles, but no time with ball in hand.
Gavin Harper, Rugbypass