All Blacks see off spirited Irish

Date published: November 22 2010

New Zealand remained on course to complete the Grand Slam after completing a 38-18 victory over Ireland at Aviva Stadium.

New Zealand remained on course to complete the Grand Slam after completing a 38-18 victory over Ireland at Aviva Stadium.

The All Blacks were on the attack from the outset, collecting the kick-off and racing down to the Irish 22 with backs and forwards combining with great ease and effect.

Many in Aviva Stadium must have thought they were in for a similar fate suffered by those at Murrayfield last week, but the Irish refused to be completely brushed aside.

It was only a matter of time before the scoring was opened and Carter got the scoreboard ticking over with a penalty in the eighth minute. Spurred into life after the early barrage from the visitors, Jonny Sexton levelled matters a mere three minutes later when his long-range effort crept over the crossbar.

As the game ebbed and flowed, Carter and Sexton traded penalties before Stephen Ferris scored the first try of the match – and amazingly, the first of his Test career – in the 31st minute.

After some good work bashing it up by the forwards, the ball was spread wide where Jamie Heaslip delivered a neat pop pass to the onrushing Ferris who crashed over. There was some suspicion that the pass from Heaslip was forward but the try stood and Sexton applied the extras.

New Zealand picked up a five-pointer of their own on the stroke of half-time after some sustained pressure. The ball was moved from left to right where Andy Ellis fumbled the ball at the back of the ruck, the Irish defence rushed out to hammer the scrum-half but Ellis managed to scoop the ball up to Anthony Boric who powered through the onrushing defenders. Carter added the conversion to give New Zealand a 19-13 lead at the break.

The visitors looked to pick up from where they left off after half-time and managed to do just that in the 45th minute when Kieran Read crossed over for his first try.

The score came on the back of some good work from Ma'a Nonu, with the centre's in-and-out allowing the All Blacks the space to break forward and move the ball wide to Read who dived over in the right-hand corner.

Graham Henry's men appeared to be running away with matters when Sam Whitelock crossed for the All Blacks' third try and an incredible one at that.

The try-scoring movement emanated from an up-and-under into the New Zealand half, Corey Jane fielded the kick, bounced of one defender and spread the ball down the line. The New Zealanders worked the ball all the way out to Whitelock on the touchline who cut inside and carried a few defenders over the tryline with him.

Carter again made no mistake with the conversion, this time from wide on the left.

Slightly against the run of play the Irish struck back through their skipper Brian O' Driscoll. An intercept from Heaslip brought the Irish into the opposing 22 where the home side where awarded a penalty. With tries the order of the game, Ireland took the line-out and after a few stop start moments from a resulting scrum, were able to spread the ball wide.

As Rob Kearney entered the line his attempted inside ball was spilt but it didn't go forward and O' Driscoll superbly picked it up with one hand and dived over.

Henry responded to the try by introducing a host of substitutes and the move nearly paid immediate dividends, with a number of scrums near the Irish line just not producing the desired result.

As if in a game of chess, Declan Kidney made substitutions of his own to counter Henry's move as the home side upped the pressure.

Replacement Keith Earls appeared to have given the hosts a lifeline when he dived over in the corner following some good work from Sexton and Tommy Bowe. However, the covering defence did just enough, ensuring the winger entered touch before he was able to ground the ball.

It was Ireland's final chance and in the end it was the All Blacks who enjoyed the last of the scoring opportunities with Read completing his brace after some superb quick hands from Mils Muliaina.

Man of the match: Dan Carter marshalled his troops brilliantly and was particularly prominent in the first-half. The fly-half was as reliable as ever with the boot, missing just one kick, his final strike of the game, which sees him move to within two points of Jonny Wilkinson at the top of the world's points-scoring charts.

Moment of the match: A moment to savour for Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina as they became joint holders of the title of highest capped All Black, surpassing Sean Fitzpatrick's record of 92 Tests.

The scorers:

For Ireland:
Try: Ferris, O'Driscoll
Con: Sexton
Pens: Sexton 2

For New Zealand:
Tries: Boric, Read 2, Whitelock
Cons: Carter 3
Pens: Carter 4

Ireland: 15 Robert Kearney 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Brian O'Driscoll (c) 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 David Wallace, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Mick O'Driscoll, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Tom Court, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 John Hayes, 18 Devin Toner, 19 Denis Leamy, 20 Peter Stringer, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Keith Earls.

New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 John Afoa, 18 Sam Whitelock, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Stephen Donald, 22 Sonny Bill Williams.