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Irish claim historic win over 14-man All Blacks

Ireland emerged victorious from a chaotic game to claim their first win over the All Blacks in New Zealand and level their three-match series.

The All Blacks were permanently reduced to 14 men when Angus Ta’avao was shown red on 31 minutes in a bizarrely undisciplined first half in Dunedin.

Andrew Porter scored a try in each half for the visitors, who led throughout.

The series will be decided in next week’s winner-takes-all meeting in Wellington.

Having never beaten New Zealand before 2016, Ireland has now won four of the last seven meetings between the sides – with their latest victory arguably the most emphatic example of the strides taken under Andy Farrell.

Their cause was aided by a violently off-colour New Zealand, whose disciplinary problems saw them twice temporarily reduced to 13 men in the first half, while they only posed an attacking threat in the final stages of each half.

Ireland will anticipate an enormous response next week but will fear nothing as they go in search of what would be a sensational series win.

At the end of an utterly chaotic first half that took nearly a full hour to complete, that the All Blacks were somehow just three points behind would have given the hosts a major boost as they headed into the sheds.

Much of their problems were of their own making, as shocking indiscipline yielded a red card and two yellows to give Ireland their best-ever chance of winning in New Zealand.

At no point in the half did the visitors capitalise on their numerical advantage though, with all 10 of their first-half points coming before any cards were issued.

As was the case a week ago in Auckland, Ireland flew out of the traps and this time found the try line inside three minutes as Porter crashed over following a huge carry up the middle from Tadhg Beirne.

It was a devastatingly accurate start from the Irish as the All Blacks struggled to find any sort of rhythm.

On 17 minutes they found themselves down to 14 as Leicester Fainga’anuku was sent to the bin for flying shoulder-first into Mack Hansen, with the young Crusaders wing only avoiding a red as his first contact was to the chest of Hansen.

Ireland continued to dominate and was just a metre from the line with numbers out wide, only for Beauden Barrett to come up with a try-saving intercept.

It looked as though New Zealand had got out of jail, but the video replays showed Ofa Tu’ungafasi tackling Garry Ringrose off the ball with the centre poised to collect Johnny Sexton’s inside pass.

Although Ringrose appeared favourite to run clear to the try line had he not been tackled, referee Jaco Peyper deemed there to be enough cover tacklers and therefore opted against awarding the penalty try, but did send Tu’ungafasi to the bin.

Out of sorts and on the back foot, New Zealand turned a bad opening 25 minutes into a dreadful one when Ta’avao careered head-first into Ringrose, leaving Peyper with no choice but to show the replacement prop a red card.

To make matters even worse, influential back row Ardie Savea was taken off to allow prop, Aidan Ross, to come on, with the Kiwi management seemingly assuming they could bring Savea back on once Tu’ungafasi’s sin-bin expired, but they could not.

It had been the stuff of nightmares from the All Blacks, and yet they were just 10 points down. Ireland wasted multiple try-scoring opportunities as inaccuracy took hold when they twice found themselves briefly playing against 13 men.

With five minutes remaining in the half the hosts kicked it up a gear and for the first time in the game moved into the Irish 22.

As they built through phases, it was Ireland who lost their discipline with James Ryan shown yellow for repeated infringing.

A try appeared inevitable and eventually, it arrived as Beauden Barrett stabbed a kick through the legs of Porter before grounding to bring his side, amazingly, to within three points.

Facing an entire half with a numerical advantage, Ireland knew a historic result was there for the taking if they could rediscover their fluency.

They started the second half as they did the first, reclaiming control of the contest again through Porter, who finished off a flowing move with a powerful leg drive on 49 minutes.

The visitors were winning the areas in which they struggled a week ago, namely the scrum and the line-out where New Zealand badly missed lock Sam Whitelock.

Caelan Doris, quiet by his lofty standards in Auckland, delivered a herculean performance including a phenomenal tap-tackle on Jordie Barrett to stop the full-back racing clear for a try.

The crowd in Dunedin expected a response from their side, but in truth, there was no point in the second half where Ireland’s lead was genuinely threatened.

Sexton kicked Ireland into a 16-point lead before New Zealand did eventually drive into the 22 with Will Jordan touching down in the corner, but with two minutes remaining the damage for the hosts was already done.

New Zealand: J Barrett; Reece, Ioane, Tupaea, Fainga’anuku; B Barrett, Smith; Bower, Taylor, Tu’ungafasi, Retallick, S Barrett, Papalii, Cane (capt), Savea.

Replacements: Taukei’aho, Ross, Ta’avao, Tuipulotu, Sowakula, Fakatava, Mo’unga, Jordan.

Ireland: Keenan; Hansen, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe; Sexton (capt), Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Furlong, Beirne, Ryan, O’Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Herring, Healy, Bealham, Treadwell, Conan, Murray, Carbery, Aki.

source – BBC Sport

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