3rd time’s a Charm, as Ireland Rugby beat All Blacks 29-20 in Dublin

3rd time's a Charm as Ireland Rugby beat All Blacks 29-20

There was no luck involved as Ireland rugby beat the New Zealand side although, the ‘blarney stone’ can naturally assist the national team’s success. A second win on home soil for the men in emerald green.

Celebrating all weekend; to be sure, as Ireland defeated the All Blacks for a historic third time since 2016. That also becomes the 2nd loss for New Zealand in an extended season which has aimed to ‘earn coin while the opportunity is hot’ for New Zealand Rugby. That strategy may have ended up costing more than it has earned, with the Irish now holding an ascendancy over the usually indomitable All Blacks..

Still, luck only takes you so far – before the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the idea that an Irish rugby team could beat the New Zealand team was only an idea. People would predict that a piece of luck was what any Irish side needed most [proven untrue in the last five years). First in Chicago and now twice in Dublin and counting; the once feared All Blacks are quickly becoming a side who are seen to be a target for Northern Hemisphere sides, as their hard exterior built-up over a century appears to be softening.

Not the sole reason they lost though. A team that cannot catch, and overcome the host team’s strong start, will find it difficult in any game. And it was a clear tactic to fight fire with fire, and the New Zealand team found it hard to recover as they were so famously known for. Post the pandemic, everything seems harder these days. And it seems since their first win, Ireland are becoming more comfortable when leading the New Zealand team. And it is working a charm for them right now.

3rd time’s a Charm as Ireland Rugby beat All Blacks

Nobody called it luck in Chicago, that win was a fair attempt on foreign soil. The first win in Ireland was more like a game plan which was totally fulfilled yet, 2021 might be the most satisfying win of all. Unplanned yet still an achievement that earlier in the week, might have sounded ambitious. Now, it seems entirely accurate.

From all common assessments, the host nation played the game almost to perfection. Aside from a halftime scoreline, the visitors were always under threat from the Irish men. They made the All Blacks tackle. An incredible statistic when it is more common for opposition team’s facing New Zealand, to be the one’s having to make tackles.

Not missed tackles mind you but, having to chase and defend more than twice as much as they would normally do, it counted against New Zealand. Weary legs began to drag, lungs were burning and when substitutions who might normally be able to inject their fresh bodies, in fact, ended up just filling a gap in the defence. Akira Ioane almost added the much-needed final flourish that All Blacks teams have been famous for. But his try was called back for a forward pass ruled by the TMO.

Even with that try, it was not a night for the All Blacks to remember fondly. Losing Beauden Barrett to an HIA assessment removed much of the side’s balance. Even with an able replacement in Richie Mo’unga, he could not settle the attack. With the forwards being bossed, the crowd grew with every minute, anticipating the unexpected.

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With standout performances by ex-pat James Lowe, Ronan Kelleher, Caelan Doris (see main image), super sub-Joey Carbery – who entered the match for Johnny Sexton – this was a group effort. The forwards must take special honours for facing down a hardened New Zealand pack. The enthusiasm across the park was equaled by an emotional Aviva Stadium crowd.

Finally filled; after the pandemic had cost sports fans so much, the national anthem was followed by a rousing rendition of The Fields of Athenry (as the All Blacks performed their haka). The spectators were so overwhelmed at the conclusion, the feeling must have been euphoric in the stands, as it was when referee Luke Pearce blew time off, and Irish players celebrated their win.

Ireland rugby beat (again) New Zealand, and it will do a world of good for the game in the Northern hemisphere.

Shoulder to shoulder, Irish Rugby on top

Coincidentally, the Irish women also triumphed this weekend. They defeated the United States women 20-10 at the RDS Arena.

With both teams’ tasting success, it emboldens the union ambitions ahead of the Six Nations, and with the Rugby World Cup women’s tournament scheduled for October. Both units have high hopes, even further bolstered by recent success. They can truly stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ knowing they each are meeting their goals.

Their opposition, however, will need to do some self-examination. Accepting and analyzing this second All Blacks loss for their season might naturally see the New Zealand management want to examine their performance, as much as the attitude. Many have suggested changes yet, continual change is not the answer. Many of the best sides have been constant. So Kiwi fans shouldn’t expect new faces. The questions may need to be answered by those who were directly involved before they meet France next weekend.

For the victors, the celebrations will have occurred naturally – but needed to only be short. They face Argentina next Sunday, and won’t need any hangover. Los Pumas have fallen away from the highs of defeating the All Blacks themselves in 2020. Yet like when Ireland Rugby beat New Zealand, they will know it is hard to maintain the high energy required to achieve that. So following that result will be paramount for Andy Farrell and his side.

The one thing that any further games cannot do though, is to diminish the result. That will never happen. A third victory, and tremendous scalp for the hosts, and it has moved Ireland back inside the top four ranked rugby nations. Ahead of all but one of their Six Nations opponents, so in regards to that Championship, Irish eyes are smiling and looking ahead to a successful 2022 tournament.

Ireland 29 – Tries: James Lowe, Ronan Kelleher, Caelan Doris; Conversion: Johnny Sexton; Penalties: Sexton, Joey Carbery (3)

New Zealand 20 – Tries: Codie Taylor, Will Jordan; Cons: Jordie Barrett (2); Pens: Barrett (2). HT: 5-10

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Future fixtures: Ireland v Argentina – Sunday, November 21 | France v New Zealand – Saturday, Nov 20

 

“Main photo credit”
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