Tuesday 6 December 2016

Ireland captain Rory Best is frustrated after defeat to New Zealand

Published 19/11/2016 | 21:51

Ireland captain Rory Best was disappointed after blowing the chance to beat New Zealand twice in two weeks
Ireland captain Rory Best was disappointed after blowing the chance to beat New Zealand twice in two weeks

Rory Best has admitted Ireland are "frustrated and annoyed" at blowing the chance for a second win over New Zealand in as many weeks.

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Skipper Best revealed Ireland knew they had let the All Blacks off the hook in Dublin, as New Zealand sneaked home 21-9 at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland claimed their first-ever win over New Zealand at Chicago's Soldier Field on November 5, but could find no repeat two weeks on despite dominating territory and possession.

Johnny Sexton is a serious doubt for Ireland's final autumn clash with Australia next weekend, with CJ Stander, Rob Kearney and Robbie Henshaw all facing concussion checks.

"We're frustrated and annoyed," said Ireland captain Best.

"But we've got to park a bit of that as well, and make sure we move onto focusing on Australia.

"When we look back on it though we'll feel we didn't attack them enough."

Referee Jaco Peyper awarded New Zealand the pivotal score without any thought of a television match official (TMO) review.

Beauden Barrett's inside pass offload to TJ Perenara appeared forward, but Peyper waved away Ireland captain Best's lengthy protests after Malakai Fekitoa's score.

Both Best and Ireland boss Joe Schmidt refused to be drawn into any critique of the referee's performance, however.

Fekitoa claimed a try brace but was also yellow-carded for a high tackle on Simon Zebo. Barrett claimed New Zealand's other try, with Ireland only able to muster three penalty goals.

"We have three guys getting head injury assessments; Rob Kearney, Robbie Henshaw and CJ Stander," said Schmidt.

"It looks like Johnny Sexton has a hamstring issue, so we'll find out in the next couple of days what chance he has of being available for next weekend.

"You've got to take heart from our performance that but it's not good enough, losing.

"They were pretty relieved to get off the pitch.

"I thought we probably didn't get the rub of the green on one or two calls, but that's something that can be a distraction.

"We'll leave that to the authorities, we'll feed our feedback through the appropriate channels.

"They'll send out edicts and we'll try to keep the game safe and make it enjoyable.

"The one thing I'd say for the players, they enjoyed rolling their sleeves up and giving it their best shot.

"We are frustrated. To be honest I'm really proud of the effort the players put in."

All Blacks boss Steve Hansen hailed New Zealand's resolve in avoiding a second-successive defeat to the Irish.

In the wake of that Soldier Field defeat, Hansen insisted New Zealand had turned up with the right mental focus in Chicago.

But having seen off the Irish in the rematch, the All Blacks head coach finally accepted his side had failed to offer the right mindset in the United States.

"I think we turned up with the right attitude for a start," said Hansen when quizzed on the differences between Chicago and Dublin.

"I think in Chicago we turned up five per cent off mentally, and we got punished for it.

"Whilst we had a very poor kicking game in Chicago we had a better one today.

"To kick like a forward pass to the wingers changed their defensive shape a wee bit.

"There's a couple of good things that Ian Foster worked on in the week with the backs."

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