Ireland stun New Zealand with 29-20 Aviva thriller

James Lowe opened the scoring at the Aviva.
Ireland stun New Zealand with 29-20 Aviva thriller

Muireann Duffy

An epic performance by Ireland has seen them best New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium.

Two tries for Andy Farrell's side made up a 5-10 half-time deficit, giving them their third ever win over the All Blacks.

The thrilling encounter set off on a positive note, with James Lowe opening the scoring in the 15th minute, scoring against his home nation. Johnny Sexton could not make the conversion stick, struggling off the kicking tee, while a penalty for Jordie Barrett in the 20th minute saw New Zealand onto the score sheet.

A yellow card for New Zealand's Codie Taylor for a challenge making contact with Sexton's head swung momentum further in Ireland's favour, but despite being a man up, they struggled to capitalise.

The Irish set piece proved to be in cracking form, with the scrum holding up particularly well to the All Blacks efforts. Keeping much of the possession, the homeside seemed to have their efforts rewarded at the half-hour mark, only for Tadhg Furlong's try to be ruled out following a check-in with the TMO.

The All Blacks were however dealt another blow as a failed HIA for Beauden Barrett saw his evening brought to a premature end.

But regardless of the loss, New Zealand showed their ever-present threat and caught Ireland napping in the 32nd minute to see Taylor over the whitewash. The try was promptly converted, putting the All Blacks ahead.

Ireland pushed hard to the close of the half and were unfortunate not to come away with a try in the closing minutes.

There was no let-up in intensity in the second half, as Ronan Kelleher broke through to take Ireland's second try of the evening. Less than 10 minutes later, man of the match Caelan Doris side-stepped Taylor to run it home, giving Sexton his chance to make his first conversion of the evening.

As New Zealand visibly tired, handling errors mounted, but once again a try from nowhere by Will Jordan cut the difference back to three.

A topic of debate on the pitch, Sexton's substitution for a HIA allowed Joey Carbery to kick a penalty as his first touch of the game, before a forward pass stole New Zealand's hopes of another try minutes later.

Barrett again brought it back to a three-point game with just over 10 minutes remaining, but two further penalties from Carbery sealed the deal for Ireland, rewarding an immense effort in front of a packed and vocal Aviva.

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