Player Ratings: Perfect
OPINION: Ireland registered their first ever win over New Zealand in Dublin.
The win is just a second in their history with a 16-9 win over the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium.
Jacob Stockdale scored the only try of the match, with Ireland’s other points coming from the boot of Johnny Sexton.
Nathaniel Cope rates the Irish players.
15 Rob Kearney
Back after recovering from a shoulder injury which forced him to miss the Argentina game. New Zealand tried to test him early on with some aerial balls. Denied a 27th minute try when he lost control of the ball. Made a good break early in the second half, selling a dummy, replaced by Larmour in the 66th minute.
14 Keith Earls
Tested positionally by Damian McKenzie early on. Two carries for 28 metres, including showing some fleet of foot in the 8th minute. He was unlucky not to get on the end of something after a Rory Best’s hit on Retallick in the 51st minute and Garry Ringrose’s chip ahead.
13 Garry Ringrose
With Robbie Henshaw out for the rest of the November series, Ringrose returned into the centre. He and Aki formed a solid partnership. Ringrose forced a turnover too and a lively presence when he did get the ball in hand.
12 Bundee Aki
After Ian Foster’s dig pre-match, Aki would have been keen for a big performance and he delivered. Made plenty of carries and he and Garry Ringrose dealt with most of what they faced defensively.
11 Jacob Stockdale
Was given an early tester with a high ball and spilled it. Then elected to run after trying to tidy up from a New Zealand breakaway in the 16th minute, when he should have sought touch – a penalty was subsequently conceded to make it 3-3 shortly after the quarter hour. A 44th minute chip over Kieran Read was charged down and the Ulster player was lucky that the All Black captain fumbled as a certain try was on. But what sets him apart is that Stockdale doesn’t let blemishes drag him down – four minutes later his chip kick worked to better effect, gathering and sliding in for a try holding off Aaron Smith and Damian McKenzie. It was his 12th try in 14 international appearances, hard to argue with those numbers.
10 Johnny Sexton
Up against another contender for the 2018 World Rugby Player of the Year in Beauden Barrett. Landed three from three in the first half and the conversion in the second. Better day kicking out of hand compared to Argentina, was unfortunate that one of his chips over the top was spilled by Kearney in the first half. Part of the double hit on Ben Smith with Stockdale in the 74th minute to drive him into touch deep in the All Blacks 22, as Ireland tried to pen their opponents back.
9 Kieran Marmion
With Conor Murray ruled out, Marmion remains the preferred choice as an alternative. His box kicking is an area that needs work, often failing to relieve pressure. Replaced by Luke McGrath in the 59th minute.
8 CJ Stander
After three minutes of New Zealand pressure in Ireland’s 22, he secured a big turnover in the 5th minute with Josh van der Flier alongside him. Another big one in 71st minute. He was a robust presence.
7 Josh van der Flier
Very energetic at the breakdown, stopped a breakaway in the 35th minute when the ball went loose, forcing a knock on. 16 tackles, a fine shift after his late call-up on Friday for the injured Dan Leavy.
6 Peter O’Mahony
The Munsterman had a tigerish display. A couple of big carries, but it was his work at the breakdown that was exceptional. Provided a crucial turnover in the 47th minute just outside the Irish 22 as the All Blacks appeared to be getting a head of steam. He got back brilliantly in the 61st minute to pluck out TJ Perenara’s chip ahead deep into the Irish 22. It was followed two minutes later by another big turnover, helped by Best, in the Irish 22. It was his last contribution of a fine performance.
5 James Ryan
A huge presence, making multiple carries. Part of that double hit on Retallick in the first half to help set the tone that Ireland were not going to be bullied. Ireland’s top tackler with 19. Frighteningly talented.
4 Devin Toner
With England’s lineout dismantled by the Brodie Retallick show, Toner was always going to come back in after the Argentina game, a match which Ireland also struggled in that area. Lineout was solid when he was calling the shots. But out in the loose Toner certainly made his presence felt, he had big combination hit on Retallick alongside James Ryan in the 14th minute. One of his best performances in an Ireland shirt.
3 Tadhg Furlong
The Irish scrum was dominant in the first half, shunting the All Blacks back. Furlong also got through his fair share of work too in the loose, making good gains with ball in hand.
2 Rory Best
Some loose passing from the Ireland hooker, three of them in the first half, but managed to get away with each of them. A shaky lineout against Argentina was rectified, all seven of his first half throws comfortably finding their men. A big hit on Brodie Retallick in the 51st minute almost led to a breakaway try for Ireland. The lineout regressed when he was off the pitch.
1 Cian Healy
Managed to get his hands on the ball a bit more. Part of a strong scrummaging effort, which dominated in the first half. Came off in the 51st minute blowing, he’d put in a big shift.
16 Sean Cronin
Came on in the 65th minute for Rory Best. The Irish lineout regressed after that, with two going awry to Murphy and Henderson. May come under increased pressure from Niall Scannell to be the reserve for Best.
17 Jack McGrath
After Healy had emptied the tank McGrath had half an hour to keep the momentum going, did so with a solid, if not spectacular, outing.
18 Andrew Porter
Came on in the 65th minute for Furlong, didn’t have a telling impact on the game.
19 Iain Henderson
Came on for Toner and had an impressive 18 minutes himself, notching up 7 tackles in that time. Highlights included a lineout steal in the 66th minute and he did well to slow the ball down in the 73rd minute in the New Zealand 22 to keep the pressure on.
20 Jordi Murphy
Came on for man-of-the-match O’Mahony, hard to replicate the performance of the Munsterman but made a few carries and chipped in with 8 tackles.
21 Luke McGrath
Came on in the 59th minute and his box kicking was an improvement on Marmion’s. His choice to do so with two minutes to go, gifting New Zealand back possession, may have come back to haunt him, thankfully for the Leinster man it didn’t.
22 Joey Carbery n/a
Came on in the 77th minute for Sexton, made his necessary tackles.
23 Jordan Larmour
Came on for Kearney with a quarter of an hour to go. Dealt with a high ball near the halfway, didn’t make any errors. He did he get a chance to run with the ball.
By Nathaniel Cope, Rugbypass