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Irish look for more Black outs


Ireland’s Cian Healy runs over New Zealand captain Richie McCaw during the Test in Dublin in November 2013. Pic: Sportsfile

Ireland’s Cian Healy runs over New Zealand captain Richie McCaw during the Test in Dublin in November 2013. Pic: Sportsfile

Ireland’s Cian Healy runs over New Zealand captain Richie McCaw during the Test in Dublin in November 2013. Pic: Sportsfile

For Argentina in 2018, see Australia in 2013. Joe Schmidt's second match in charge of Ireland was one to remember for all the wrong reasons.

The Irish were completely torn apart in the second-half as Michael Hooper picked up two tries and one Man of the Match award.

"You look at the tries they scored, we were very disappointed with that," said Paul O'Connell afterwards.

"A lot of them were things that we could defend and we could have dealt with, and unfortunately we didn't.

"I think, over the last number of years, we've built a belief that we can take on these teams and beat them.


"To be beaten by four tries-to-nil and by the scoreline that it was is very disappointing."

This was far from a scratch Ireland outfit, backboned by Rob Kearney, Brian O'Driscoll, Jonathan Sexton, Rory Best, O'Connell and a back row of Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien and Jamie Heaslip, starting 10 Leinster men with another six on the bench.

You could make the case that Schmidt didn't have the excuse of unfamiliarity with his ways and means as Leinster did back in 2010 when they lost three of their first four in the PRO12.

The differentiation did not come from the men under his watch. It came from the way Ireland were instructed to play the game.

The fluid, attacking style of Leinster was binned for a more pragmatic approach because Schmidt knew he would only have the players for short, intense bursts.

The day-to-day contact necessary to make those incremental gains in skills were not available to the new national coach. He had to tailor his green cloth to what he could do with it.

The progress that has seen Ireland rise to a 2018 Grand Slam, and second in the world, started the next week in the first of three electric encounters against New Zealand.

From them, the All Blacks have outscored Ireland two wins-to-one, on an aggregate points difference of 74-71.

This simplistic measurement has just a kick of the ball between the countries.


November 24, 2013

Ireland...22 New Zealand..24

Aviva Stadium

Scorers - Ireland: R Kearney, C Murray, R Best try each; J Sexton pen, 2 cons.

New Zealand: J Savea, B Franks, R Crotty try each; pen, 3 cons.

This was the one that got away, as New Zealand probably under-estimated the Irish based on what they had seen against Australia.

A winning position was constructed from Ireland's domination of the ball for tries by Kearney, Murray and Best.

Jonathan Sexton's 75th minute penalty miss and Jack McGrath's penalty concession allowed the All Blacks to steal the game through Ryan Crotty's clutch converted try.


November 5, 2016

Ireland...40 New Zealand..29

Soldier Field, Chicago

Scorers - Ireland: C Murray try, pen; R Henshaw, S Zebo, CJ Stander, J Murphy try each; J Sexton 2 pens, 2 cons; J Carbery con.

New Zealand: B Smith, G Moala, S Barrett, TJ Perenara try each; B Barrett pen, 3 cons.

This was one that broke with convention as Ireland out-punched New Zealand five tries-to-four to finally make history.

They bristled with intensity and accuracy as the front-five set a platform from which points accrued in a hurry.

The fightback arrived just about on schedule before Joey Carbery's hands, Simon Zebo's left boot and the chasers-in-green, led by Conor Murray, forced the scrum Robbie Henshaw turned into a maiden win after 111 years.


November 5, 2016

Ireland...9 New Zealand...21

Aviva Stadium

Scorers - Ireland: P Jackson 2 pens; J Sexton pen.

New Zealand: M Fekitoa 2 tries; B Barrett, try, 3 cons.

The hysteria of Ireland finally making the breakthrough in Chicago was taken as a blow to All Black supremacy.

Steve Hansen's men came to Dublin determined to make a statement of intent.

They flouted the rules, more than once, most notably for Malakai Fekitoa's forearm to the head of Simon Zebo.

Were Sam Cane's unintentional head shot on Henshaw (above) and Fekitoa's cheap shot handed out this season, there would be two red cards shown.

That is not what anyone wants this time around.