Ireland 16-9 New Zealand: Jacob Stockdale try seals history-making win in Dublin
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 18/11/18 7:14am
A stunning Jacob Stockdale try, plus the boot of Johnny Sexton, ensured Ireland beat New Zealand in Dublin for the first time on Saturday courtesy of a 16-9 victory.
In addition to Stockdale's sensational finish, Sexton contributed nine points from three penalties and a further two via a conversion.
The All Blacks failed to score a try in the game - the first time this has occurred in 23 Tests and just the second time in over four years - with their nine points all coming via the boot of Beauden Barrett.
Having beaten the All Blacks in Chicago for the first time in their history two years ago, Ireland created more history by getting past the back-to-back World Cup champions at the Aviva Stadium.
The outstanding defence and discipline of Joe Schmidt's charges was pivotal as the world's No 2 ranked side got one over the world No 1.
New Zealand settled the quicker, dominating the ball for the opening four minutes, and after a smart tactical kick in behind from Barrett forced Rob Kearney to run the ball out of play deep in the Ireland 22, the hosts defended immense pressure strongly, with CJ Stander and Josh van der Flier combining to win a breakdown penalty five metres from their own line.
Ireland then proceeded to dominate the ball themselves for the next seven minutes from that penalty decision and hit the front via a Sexton penalty with New Zealand caught offside under their own posts.
New Zealand's second extended phase of play was ended by more staunch Ireland defending near their own 22 when Devin Toner and James Ryan put in a monstrous double hit on Brodie Retallick, forcing the loose ball which was gathered up by Tadhg Furlong. Sam Whitelock then gave away a penalty at the consequent ruck to relieve pressure.
Ireland skipper Rory Best coughed up possession in the New Zealand 22 off the next set-piece, however, and when the All Blacks countered off a Ben Smith kick ahead, Kearney was penalised for coming in at the side of a ruck, allowing Barrett to equalise the game off the tee on 17 minutes.
New Zealand continued to give away penalties though as, firstly, Liam Squire was penalised for a high tackle on Stander in midfield, allowing Sexton to kick up to the New Zealand 22. From the lineout, Whitelock played the ball while off feet, and Ireland chose to kick to the corner ahead of kicking for points.
A powerful maul followed, after which Stander powered over the tryline when Kieran Marmion released the ball with Cian Healy latching onto the No 8's carry from short range but was held up.
On 27 minutes, Ireland thought they had scored the opening try of the game through Kearney. Indeed, the on-field decision from referee Wayne Barnes was that the score was good.
But the try was ruled out by TMO Rowan Kitt on review for a knock on by the Leinster back in the act of grounding the ball on top of the line after he had gathered a left-footed Sexton chip.
Ireland were playing on advantage from a dominant scrum drive and so went back and kicked the points for 6-3.
New Zealand responded almost immediately, however, as Best transgressed at the breakdown and Barrett kicked a drop goal on advantage - his second in two weeks having never kicked one in 70 Tests before last week - to level the scores.
Late in the first half, New Zealand gave away three penalties in their 22, first from a dominant Irish scrum, then with Kieran Read offside and finally through Whitelock - again - for playing the ball off feet. Referee Barnes warned Read and co but declined to sin-bin anyone in black despite nine penalty concessions.
Captain Best chose to take the points again for a 9-6 lead as the half came to a close, which saw Ireland head in with just a three-point advantage despite having had 60 per cent possession and 60 per cent territory in the first half.
Four minutes into the second half, Ireland had a big let-off after a Stockdale Garryowen was charged down by All Black skipper Read but the Kiwi No 8 knocked on while attempting to regather with a certain try on the cards as centre Jack Goodhue was in support.
Flanker Peter O'Mahony won a key breakdown penalty soon after to settle Ireland into the second half, and when Sexton kicked to touch, the game's first try arrived off the set-piece.
Having worked a shortened lineout off O'Mahony, Sexton played a cute reverse ball to Bundee Aki in midfield, who then fed Stockdale down the left wing. From there, the Ulster wing chipped over the All Black cover defence and had too much pace for Aaron Smith, getting to the bouncing ball first and sliding in to touch down.
When Sexton converted, the lead was a 10 point gap at 16-6.
Ireland had momentum and when they forced a five-metre lineout on 52 minutes, a major opportunity was lost when the set-piece was crucially stolen by the All Blacks.
On 56 minutes, Ireland full-back Kearney was fortunate to avoid a yellow card when he took out Rieko Ioane in the air - referee Barnes decreeing the offence a penalty only.
With New Zealand coming forward in waves, Ireland were just about keeping the world's number one side at bay before O'Mahony produced a tremendous turnover past the hour mark deep in his 22.
Ireland were living on the edge and with 15 minutes to go New Zealand looked likely to cut through when Barrett made a half break, but his offload ended up in the hands of Kearney instead of the All Blacks in support.
Iain Henderson stole a lineout soon after but an Aki knock-on in general play gave New Zealand another chance to attack.
Sexton was penalised for a high tackle on Richie Richie Mo'unga on the 68th minute off that scrum, and skipper Read opted for a shot at the sticks instead of kicking to touch. Barrett duly obliged from the Ireland 10-metre line, reducing the deficit to a single score.
With six minutes left on the clock, Ireland past up another golden opportunity as yet another five-metre lineout was lost when Retallick got up in front of Henderson to nab a Sean Cronin throw.
To the great relief of all in the crowd and on the pitch of a green persuasion, the home side were not made to pay for their profligacy in the danger zone.
Ireland's defence in the closing stages was arguably the strongest it had been for the entire Test, confining New Zealand inside their own 22 until the very final minute of the match.
The All Blacks eventually broke into the Ireland 22 with the clock in the red in search of a draw, but a Retallick knock-on brought the referee's final whistle and ecstasy for the home support and players.