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Johnny Sexton’s verdict as Ireland seal historic win against the All Blacks

First win in New Zealand for Andy Farrell’s band of heroes

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 09: Andrew Porter of Ireland scores a try during the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Ireland at Forsyth Barr Stadium on July 09, 2022 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)© Getty Images

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Johnny Sexton saluted Ireland’s historic win against the All Blacks in New Zealand, as he turned his thoughts to next weekend's series decider after a sensational performance in Dunedin.

Two tries from Andrew Porter and 13 points from Sexton saw Ireland record a historic 23-12 win over the All Blacks, levelling the three-Test series at 1-1.

The series will now be decided in next weekend's Third Test, with Sexton joyous as he summed up a day that will never be forgotten in Irish rugby folklore.

"We played some great stuff at the start, especially when it was 15 against 15. The game was disrupted after that, but we are delighted to get over the line.

"No Irish team has ever done this and now it’s all on the line next week.

"We have a fantastic coaching team and they had us well up for the game. We were not at our best last week and the All Blacks obviously punished us, but they put us in a really good place last week and we just had to go out and delivered what they put together for us and we did that.

"Playing against the all Blacks you can never sit back. They have some outstanding players, very well coached, They are the best team in the world for a reason and we are delighted to get the win.

"We have a chance to win a series here and they don’t come along too often. We are looking forward to next week.”

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell expressed his pride at a win that will instantly be etched into Irish sporting folklore.

"I'm just pleased for the players because they're so desperate to inspire people back home and they keep turning up time and time again and doing special things for Irish rugby and the Irish people," said Farrell

"I'm so glad they were able to get it over the line because it had a bit of everything, it was a courageous effort.

"We all know the All Blacks come out of the blocks, they're stronger, faster and we were courageous, we hit the ground running right from the start.

"We didn't get sucked into the allure of the game. Going down to 14 men, then going down to 13 men, we kept playing the right game in the right parts of the field and applying pressure. I'm just so proud of them.

"The main thing is we're learning how to deal with the pressures of the top-level game. Our composure's really good.

"Things are not always going to go sprightly for you, especially against the world's best, but our composure doesn't change when we make a mistake and we got what we deserved.

"These lads have made history but they've also earned the right to compete for a series.”

Porter struggled to contain his delight, as his two tries set up the famous win as he added: “All that matters for us now is next week but we will enjoy tonight. I couldn't be more proud of the work the lads have put in over the last week.

"It is hard to put into words how I feel right now to be honest. It is an incredible group of lads to work with, to bounce back from last week. Obviously we had an extra man for most of the game so we will have to put in a better performance next week and give our supporters even more to cheer.

"We have created a bit of history today but it would be even sweeter if we could pull off the win next week as well. We will take our learnings from today and throw everything at it. We have got nothing to lose.”

New Zealand cruised to a 42-19 success in Auckland last weekend but their quest to clinch series glory at the first opportunity was undermined by repeated infringements.

Ireland vowed to bounce back and they did just that, with the All Blacks needing to regroup ahead of next weekend's titanic showdown to decide the series.

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