Ireland made history on Saturday as they held off the quick-finishing All Blacks to win the third tiebreak 32-22, becoming the first tour team in the professional era to win a series on neo-ground. zealander.
Ireland scored three tries before half-time in Wellington to lead 22-3 and kept their composure as New Zealand hit back with three of their own after the break to clinch the series 2-1.
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It is just the sixth series win for a visiting New Zealand side and the first since France won 2-0 in 1994.
The victory – Ireland’s fifth in their last eight meetings with the All Blacks – puts Andy Farrell’s side among the main contenders for next year’s World Cup in France.
“Our fans came tonight, but also four million people home for breakfast, probably watching us for a few pints,” Ireland captain Johnny Sexton said.
“We wanted to make them proud and we certainly did. The effort was amazing and it’s a very special day because we’re playing against the best in the world, the best, and to come here and do it is very special. “
It leaves New Zealand coach Ian Foster under huge pressure, with his side having lost four of their last five Tests.
Rarely have the All Blacks been so outplayed as they were in the first half, failing to respond to a ruthless Irish side who ruthlessly took their chances.
After looking confused in attack and clueless in defense for 40 minutes, New Zealand mounted a rear guard after half-time, coming back to trail 25-22 going into the final quarter of the match.
But they couldn’t push against a visiting team that created breathing room when Rob Herring crossed for his fourth down and held on to finish off one of the big rebounds of the series.
Ireland lost the first Test 42-19 at Eden Park two weeks ago before bouncing back to win the second Test 23-12 in Dunedin.
“It’s not quite understood,” said Irish winger James Lowe. “We knew after the first test that it wasn’t our best performance, but we made it right and tried to stop New Zealand.
“Results like that, on the rebound, in New Zealand, who would have thought?”
TESTS: Van der Flier, Keenan, Henshaw, Herring
CONS: Sacristan 2/4
PENS: Sacristan 1/2
ALL BLACKS 22
TESTS: Smith, Ioane, Jordan
CONS: J. Barrett 2/3
PENS: J Barrett 1/2
New Zealand:15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick , 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Ireland:15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements:16 Rob Herring, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Keith Earls.
Arbitrator: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson (England), Christopher Ridley (England)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)