Ireland

Eddie O'Sullivan: Ireland 'now better than All Blacks - but a long way to World Cup'

Saturday's 32-22 win by the Irish in Wellington clinched a historic first series win in New Zealand and moved them top of the world rankings.

"If we played New Zealand again next week, we'd probably beat them again," said ex-Ireland coach O'Sullivan.

"But I think, come the World Cup, things will even up again."

"There is a lot of water to flow under the bridge between now and next year," he added.

Ireland's latest victory over the All Blacks was their fifth win in eight contests against the three-time world champions.

Ireland defeat All Blacks in Test series for first time with 32-22 win

Ireland completely dominated the home side in the first 40 minutes, leading 22-3 at half-time after scoring three tries in front of a sold out crowd.

Warhorse captain Johnny Sexton was supreme as the Irish stunned the hosts with the string of tries and bone-jarring tackles.

The All Blacks scored the first try of the second half to Ardie Savea before making the most of an Ireland player being yellow carded to dot down again through Akira Ioane and cut the visitors lead to 25-17.

Ireland beat 14-man All Blacks 23-12 in second Test

Ireland led 10-7 at half time, with the All Blacks having a player sent off after 30 minutes.

Prop Andrew Porter scored the opening try for Ireland after just three minutes, with Jonny Sexton kicking the conversion and then a penalty to give the visitors a deserved early lead.

The All Blacks then had winger Leicester Fainga'anuku and Ofa Tu'ungafasi both sin-binned and replacement prop Angus Ta'avao was red-carded in the 31st minute for a dangerous tackle.

All Blacks need to improve

The breakdown and the defence have been identified as areas where the team can take a step up, Barrett said, after the Irish won the early collisions and scored three tries at Eden Park.

"We want to take our game to another level and we have already identified many areas to get better," Barrett said in Dunedin.

"Obviously, there were some missed opportunities out there on the weekend. And although it was our first go at it, we would like to improve a lot."

Ireland series shapes as hardest start to an All Black season in ages

With a Covid-hit squad meaning he couldn't even be in camp, the All Blacks coach has raised pretty much every set of rugby eyebrows sky high in what is shaping up to be an extremely interesting test match.

Two debutants named in All Blacks 23 to play Ireland

Fainga'anuku was one of the outstanding finishers in Super Rugby this year and played a big part in the Crusaders run to the title.

Sowakula was also impressive for the Chiefs.

Scott Barrett wears the number 6 jersey with captain Sam Cane at 7 and Ardie Savea at the back of the scrum.

Fainga'anuku gets his first start in the number 11 jersey with fellow Crusader Sevu Reece on the right wing.

After getting called up as cover due to Covid affecting players, Braydon Ennor comes into the 23.

Ireland pay moving tribute to late Sean Wainui before Māori All Blacks game

Ahead of the clash in Hamilton, Ireland's captain Bundee Aki placed a number 11 Ireland jersey on the pitch before an emotional haka performed by the Māori All Blacks.

Wainui, a key member of the Māori All Blacks who wore the number 11 jersey during his career, was killed when his car hit a tree at McLaren Falls Park near Tauranga on 18 October last year.

He was just 25, capped 10 times for the Māori All Blacks, and it was the first time his teammates had played since his tragic loss.

Maori All Blacks 32-17 Ireland: Visitors well beaten in tour opener

The hosts dazzled in a one-sided first half in which they scored four tries to Ireland's one to open up a 22-point advantage.

Gavin Coombes crossed after the break as Ireland improved but it was too late to seriously threaten the Maori lead.

The visitors also lost James Hume and Cian Healy to second-half injuries.

Ireland hammer sorry Wales 29-7 in one-sided opener

The dominant hosts scored only one try in the first half, through Bundee Aki.

Andrew Conway's quickfire double and a magnificent Garry Ringrose effort after the break saw Ireland accelerate away from the injury-ravaged visitors.

Only Taine Basham's late try saved Wales the ignominy of a scoreless defeat.

Wayne Pivac's side remain without a victory in Dublin since 2015 and have rarely looked less likely to win in the Irish capital as they were stifled throughout by an impressive Irish defence.

Ireland rack up record victory over Argentina

Back-row Josh van der Flier scored twice as the Irish wrapped up a fruitful end-of-year campaign in style at the Aviva Stadium.

Fellow forwards Andrew Porter, Caelan Doris, Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy and Tadhg Beirne also claimed tries to help Andy Farrell’s men stretch their unbeaten run to eight games.

Meanwhile, the exceptional Joey Carbery – filling in for injured skipper Johnny Sexton – backed up his match-winning cameo in last weekend’s stunning success over New Zealand by kicking 18 points.