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Johnny Sexton salutes Ireland’s moment of glory against the All Blacks

Ireland battled to a landmark series win in New Zealand after holding off a second-half fightback

Johnny Sexton toasted Ireland's moment of glory in New Zealand© Getty Images

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Johnny Sexton saluted head coach Andy Farrell after Ireland's historic series win against New Zealand.

Ireland battled to a landmark series win in New Zealand after holding off a second-half fightback to secure a stunning 32-22 success from an epic encounter in Wellington.

Andy Farrell’s men led by 19 points at the break courtesy of a spellbinding first-half display which brought tries for Josh Van Der Flier, Hugo Keenan and Robbie Henshaw.

But the All Blacks moved to within three points in a breathless second period thanks to scores from Ardie Savea, Akira Ioane and Will Jordan, before Rob Herring crossed to help the tourists home on a historic evening.

Members of Ireland’s triumphant squad were pictured in tears at full-time as they savoured arguably the greatest result in their nation’s history, which also moved them top of the world rankings.

"I bet you we had four million people at home up for breakfast and probably having a few pints as well," said the Ireland skipper.

"It's a very special day because we're playing against the best in the world. To come down here and do it is very, very special.

"It's clear how belief there is. It's starts with the main man with Faz (Andy Farrell). He's come in here. He's changed things.

"He was brave at the start. He stuck with some older lads and he got criticised. He brought in some younger lads.

"He's just done an amazing job and all credit to him really.

"It means a lot now. I know in a year's time when the World Cup starts it won't mean anything as we're learnt before but we'll certainly really enjoy tonight and maybe a couple of more days.

"We've got to keep improving. That's what we have to learn from previous years."

Coach Farrell admitted it will be difficult for his players to better this achievement in an emotional interview.

"This is a special group. To come here and achieve what they've achieved. It won't be done again, knowing what we know is going to happen in the next few years anyway," Farrell told Sky Sports

"This is probably the toughest thing to do in world rugby. We came here. Nobody mentioned end-of-season tours.

"We dusted ourselves down and came here with task in hand. We went for it straight from the start.

"These guys have broken some records but this will top everything I would think."

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