porter flows | 

Ireland were great and New Zealand were an absolute mess

This was a right All Blacks mess in Dunedin
Ireland prop Andrew Porter dives over for his second try in the second Test in Dunedin

Ireland prop Andrew Porter dives over for his second try in the second Test in Dunedin© Getty Images

Mick GalweySunday World

Roy Keane used to say ‘All Credit to ...’ when he wanted to praise a player.

Well I’m robbing that phrase because it’s all credit to everyone involved that Ireland’s rugby team made history at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin yesterday.

A first-ever win on New Zealand soil came about because everyone cut out the mistakes of the first Test against and it was their hosts who made the errors.

Indiscipline, poor handling, taking off one of the best players in the world, when they didn’t have to, in Ardie Savea.

This was all a right All Blacks mess.

Even before yesterday’s match had ended I was looking forward to next Saturday in Wellington and the decider.

Ireland will go into that match full of confidence, New Zealand will go into it knowing they have lost three of their last four Tests.

Garry Ringrose is treated after his sickening collision with Kiwi prop Angus Ta’avao

Garry Ringrose is treated after his sickening collision with Kiwi prop Angus Ta’avao© Getty Images

They were beaten in Dublin and in Paris last November; they won in Auckland last weekend, and now they’ve lost again.

The All Blacks are one of the most successful teams in the history of all of sport, never mind just rugby.

They do not do a success rate of 25 per cent easily. They will come out firing next Saturday, players and management alike.

Because if they were to lose a fourth Test in five matches, there will be hell to pay with the New Zealand sporting public.

A public who are just as demanding as the Gaelic football supporters in my native Kerry. They don’t do losing well.

Even though it is barely a year to the World Cup in France, a series loss to Ireland might bring an end to coach Ian Foster’s reign, and to the careers of a few players.

And, of course, there is now Joe Schmidt waiting in the wings, living in New Zealand and ready to take up the coaching job.

By contrast, Ireland boss Andy Farrell is under no pressure at all.

I saw where ex-Ireland player Stephen Ferris had a go at Andy pre-match for picking the same team again – more or less.

And I have to admit I agreed with Stephen a bit. I’ve argued so often in these pages that anyone who thinks we are fielding the same XV for seven Saturdays in a row at next year’s World Cup is off their rocker.

We need to find out just how good our squad depth is.

Andy chose not to go down that road yesterday and I fear we may pay for it in the long run.

But the coach was rewarded by huge efforts from the players he might have dropped after Auckland.

Tadhg Beirne (below) was immense. He clearly needed last week’s 80 minutes after being out injured – this time around he was a thorn in Kiwi sides all through the game.

Tadhg Beirne

Tadhg Beirne© Getty Images

Caelan Doris was superb too; that tap tackle on Jordie Barrett was a try-saver and Garry Ringrose was having a big game until he had to go off.

The subs bench delivered too in Dunedin, with Bundee Aki and Jack Conan coming on strong in the finale.

Now Andy will retain the same team again for the third Test, perhaps only James Lowe need worry about his place.

The winger had a few hairy moments yesterday, including a chance for a try butchered with a long floating pass that was, both, the wrong option to take and dreadfully executed.

Aki will come in for Ringrose at centre, if the latter is ruled out.

But otherwise the heroes of this match will go on.

Andrew Porter was immense, even apart from his two tries, as was the great Peter O’Mahony in the second half when Ireland needed an experienced head to see them home.

“You keep going down, Peter,” said referee Jaco Peyper. But O’Mahony, the warrior, kept getting up and coming back for more.

One thing is clear to me after yesterday’s game – top officials in World Rugby read th e Sunday World.

Because, after my comments here last Sunday, we at last we had a TMO who was not afraid, in a match involving New Zealand, to butt into the referee’s ear and tell him what was going on.

Mr Peyper initially missed the red card and the two yellow card offences.

He did stop the play for the Ringrose collision, but only because he thought it had just been a clash of heads.

It took TMO Tom Foley to tell him that it was something more than that.

The two other yellow cards could have been reds too.


And there was a case for a penalty try in the Ringrose yellow, had he received that ball Garry would have scored.

One thing I didn’t like was Mr Peyper’s words to prop Angus Ta’avao – “Unfortunately, I’m going to have to send you off.”

No referee should ever use the word ‘unfortunately’ dismissing a player who has just led with his head in a tackle.

But it is this All Black mystique again, that they are somehow supermen.

They might be again next Saturday, but they were out of control yesterday, a red and two yellows in 40 minutes of rugby is not good enough for any international team.

One thing I loved about the end of the match was there was no whooping and hollering from Ireland’s players.

The players were entitled to do that, they had made history.

But no, it was all very calm and very relaxed as if they know a chance of utter rugby history is ahead of them.

There is plenty of work ahead this week. First Ireland play the Maoris on Tuesday in Wellington.

A touring team’s match against the Maori All Blacks, anywhere in New Zealand, is as close as it gets to Test rugby without reaching that level.

I’m looking forward to seeing players like Jordan Larmour, Ryan Baird and Gavin Coombes get their chance.

A big showing from them, and anyone else, could see them force their way onto the bench, if not into the starting XV, for Saturday.

For the Test team there is plenty to do too. Yes, they could have been a lot calmer in the period when New Zealand were losing players all over the place, and were down to 13 men for a few minutes.

But that part of the match was disrupted with props coming on and off and uncontested scrums.

Remember that was also the crazy period when the NZ coaching staff took off s, to get a prop on.

He was the last man they ought to have taken from the pitch.

In the second half, Ireland played much better and used their extra man really well.

So it is all set up for Saturday. A confident Ireland will come up against a chastened All Black rugby team that for one of the few times in its magnificent history, is feeling, not the love, but the heat.

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