Sunday 18 February 2018

Here is how the Irish heroes rated in historic win over the All Blacks

Josh van der Flier, left, and Joey Carbery of Ireland celebrate after the International rugby match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field in Chicago, USA. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Josh van der Flier, left, and Joey Carbery of Ireland celebrate after the International rugby match between Ireland and New Zealand at Soldier Field in Chicago, USA. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jim Glennon

Ireland's class of 2016 stamped their names into the history books as Joe Schmidt's side dispatched New Zealand 40-29 in Chicago - for their first win over the All Blacks in 111 years of trying.

Three days after the Chicago Cubs ended a 108-year drought to land baseball's World Series, Ireland lit up Soldier Field with their maiden win over the All Blacks at the 29th attempt.

New Zealand's record-breaking winning run was halted at 18 Tests in the windy city, with Robbie Henshaw powering home for Ireland's fifth and decisive try.



Andrew Trimble   7

Acquitted himself reasonably well in dealing with the daunting task of stopping ‘the bus’ Savea. Carried well and was strong too on the kick-chase

Jared Payne    8

Big day for Payne against his home country and, as with Stander in June, it would’ve been a strange one. Performs the basics well at whatever level he plays

Robbie Henshaw  8

At the stage of his career where opposition of this quality is the yardstick by which he’ll be measured and he looked totally comfortable.

Simon Zebo    7

Reliability has been the stick used to beat him and this opposition provides the ultimate test. Looked sharp and eager, if on the wrong end of some heavy collisions.

Jonathan Sexton  9

Tempo and variety were essential if Ireland were to have any chance of prevailing and the out-half certainly delivered; exceptional line-kicking.

Conor Murray  9

Much responsibility on the scrum-half’s shoulders to set the tempo, along with Sexton, and steer the ship. Brought his runners into the game well early on.

Jack McGrath  9

Well worth his place ahead of the resurgent Cian Healy and, with relatively few scrums, got through a veritable mountain of work around the pitch.

Rory Best   9

A captain’s part in an outstanding team effort. Key contributor to the reliability of both set-pieces and a tireless worker in the loose. Remains a remarkable leader.

Tadhg Furlong  9

The game of his life. A rapid rise over the past 15 months found him first-choice starter against New Zealand. No problem at scrum, he performed heroics.

Donnacha Ryan  8.5

That distinctive intensity was in his eyes from the outset and he provided real ‘grunt’ and graft alongside Toner. Contributed well at the line-out.

Devin Toner    8

The dominant player in a line-out minus Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, he varied his calls well and was rock-solid when calling on himself.

CJ Stander    8.5

The fight had to be carried to the New Zealand pack and Stander was the undoubted carrier-in-chief. He asserted himself at every possible opportunity.

Jamie Heaslip  9

No fireworks but would have carried out his coach’s brief to the letter. Like all his colleagues, was up against some serious physicality but nonetheless got through an absolute mountain of work. Phenomenal physical endurance.

Jordi Murphy    8

Rarely first-choice but never fails to step up to the mark when called upon. A characteristically highly-industrious minute shift from a valued ‘squaddie’.

Joe Schmidt  9

Conservative selection raised some eyebrows, but fitness was his fundamental criterion. Will always be remembered for this historic victory.

Rob Kearney 8

If his selection was based more on past exploits and midfield selection issues than on recent form, he certainly rose to the occasion.


"Holy Jaysus! Just woke up from a MAD dream - I was in Chicago and Ireland beat The All Blacks to win The World Series!!! #WTF #IREvNZL" - Irish comedian @PatricKielty is in dreamland.


Ireland centre Robbie Henshaw powering home for the fifth and decisive try, cutting a brutal line off Jamie Heaslip's number eight break.


Robbie Henshaw, Ireland: Simply indefatigable under the weight of history, pressure and expectation.


Ireland ended 111 years of waiting for a win over New Zealand, victorious at the 28th attempt.


Aaron Smith had one of his worst showings in an All Black shirt. The scrum-half is way behind TJ Perenara in the current pecking order and was rightly hooked early in the second-half.


Ireland v Canada, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Saturday, November 12

Italy v New Zealand, Rome, Saturday, November 12

Additional reporting by PA

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