New Zealand 46-14 Ireland: All Blacks crush Ireland
New Zealand will contest their semi-final against England in Yokohama next Saturday
Last Updated: 21/10/19 5:28pm
New Zealand set up a Rugby World Cup semi-final clash with England after a convincing seven-try 46-14 win over Ireland in Tokyo.
The haka was met by a hair-raising rendition of the Fields of Athenry but that was as good as it got for Ireland who had no answer to the fast-paced display from New Zealand.
The All Blacks were at their clinical best with Aaron Smith scoring two tries and Beauden Barrett, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, George Bridge, and Jordie Barrett also going over. Richie Mo'unga weighed in with the boot adding four conversions and a penalty to set up a date with England in Tokyo.
A try from Robbie Henshaw and a penalty try did give Ireland something on the scoreboard but they were well beaten in every facet on the day.
It was a lesson in ball retention and handling as the All Blacks showed their intent by stretching Ireland's defence from the very start.
New Zealand's first try came in the 11th minute after some hard carries from the big men sucked in the defenders creating space. From the ruck, Smith spotted acres of space and took full advantage to dive over. Mo'unga added the conversion to an earlier penalty to make it 10-0.
Smith scored his second after wingers Sevu Reece and George Bridge combined to race into space. Bridge was pulled down short but once again Smith's eye for the gap was spot on and he burrowed over from close range. Mo'unga added the conversion and Ireland were 17-0 down after 21 minutes.
Ten minutes later the All Blacks had their third after a massive tackle from Reece on Johnny Sexton dislodged the ball - Mo'unga hoofed it downfield and Beauden Barrett chased it down to score which was given after referring it up the TMO.
Ireland had their best chance of scoring with half-time fast approaching. However, a penalty for an off the ball tackle was reversed after replays showed Peter O'Mahony hitting the ruck leading with the elbow and the All Blacks went into the break with a healthy 22-0 lead.
It was more of the same in the second as New Zealand continued to turn the screw and played the game in the right areas. Ireland could not hold onto the ball and were living off scraps.
Hooker Taylor scored their fourth after a pop pass from Kieran Read with Mo'unga's conversion making it 29-0.
Matt Todd made it five after a driving maul splintered the Ireland pack and the following cross-field kick was plucked out of the air by Reece who was hauled down inches short, however a quick recycle and Todd was on hand to score.
Ireland finally got onto the scoreboard in the 65th minute when Henshaw powered over after a carry from CJ Stander off the base of the scrum - the centre relieved after he had knocked on over the line moments before.
However, New Zealand were not done yet as Bridge touched down after a fine offload from Dane Coles and, despite going down to 14-men and conceding a penalty try late on, they rounded off proceedings when Jordie Barrett crossed in the final minute.
'Its the false hope that kills you'
Sky Sports News reporter James Cole analyses Ireland's last-eight defeat to the All Blacks in Japan's capital.
I've never experienced an atmosphere change so quickly and dramatically at a sporting event.
'The Fields of Athenry' had drowned out New Zealand's Haka. 2,000 Ireland fans had 'officially' bought tickets to this game; come kick-off there were easily over 20,000 in the Tokyo Stadium.
The noise was brilliant. It felt like a home game for Ireland.
Indeed, there was so much hope among the Irish fans. They'd beaten the All Blacks twice in the last 3 years. Surely they could do it again - or at least come close?
But it's the false hope that breaks you.
With 20 minutes gone, the game was over. As Richie Mo'unga converted Aaron Smith's second try, to make it 17-0, 'The Fields of Athenry' had been replaced by 'The Sound of Silence'.
New Zealand's performance was at another level. They played with a pace and intensity we hadn't seen at this World Cup. It blew Ireland away - the men in green looked shell-shocked - the men in black seemed to win every collision. New Zealand missed just one tackle in the first half!
What was also very apparent from last night's quarter-final was how New Zealand have evolved since their defeat in Dublin last November. While Ireland have not.
Having Mo'unga and Beauden Barrett in the same team gives the All Blacks another dimension in attack. In contrast, Schmidt's decision to put faith in senior figures, rather than select those in-form, backfired.
Schmidt: "When you hit a high there is always a little bit of a drop. We work with human beings. We'd won three out of the last five so that is why it is so devastating."We would love to have got into the top four. Heartbroken would not be far away from how I feel and how the players feel. After the November series we wanted to make sure this was our target and maybe it consumed us too much and we got distracted from the focus.
As coach Schmidt leaves his post and Andy Farrell takes over, the former England centre will have some big decisions to make. Some will be made for him, with players retiring. But others will not. Johnny Sexton has said he wants to keep playing for a few more years; and he still has a lot to offer this Ireland team. But as Farrell looks to plan for the next world cup cycle he will note that in four years' time Sexton will be 38, Conor Murray 34 and Rob Kearny 37.
Sexton: "At the end of the World Cup you guys will probably start calling for our heads because we'll be too old and the next batch has to come through - you can see it already. But we hope we've got a few more years left together."
Schmidt took Ireland to new heights. His legacy shouldn't be tarnished by this result. But the best teams keep evolving - and that task now lies with Farrell.
New Zealand's handling was out of this world and their desire to keep the ball alive was highly entertaining. Their patience in defence also caught the eye and added to their overall clinical display. A clean bill of health will also be a major positive for the men in black heading into the semi-finals.
Ireland looked half a yard slower than New Zealand and battled to make their mark on the game. They were guilty of too many handling errors which were pounced on by the All Blacks. Irelands defence was also left wanting - granted they were put under the pump by the All Black machine - but missing 29 tackles in a World Cup semi-final is just not good enough.
For New Zealand, well they conceded 12 penalties - Ireland let them off the hook with poor game management, but England will certainly make them pay for any indiscretions.
Stat of the day
21 - Beauden Barrett made 21 carries in #NZLvIRE, the most ever by an @AllBlacks player in a @rugbyworldcup match, surpassing the previous best tally set by John Kirwan and Buck Shelford who both made 20 against Italy in 1987. Key.#RWC2019 pic.twitter.com/S2frj6ZYKM— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) October 19, 2019
Tweets of the match
#RWC2019— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) October 19, 2019
Not the performance or the result we wanted today.
Thank you to our incredible supporters. You’ve been there on the great days & we know you’ll help us rise again from the bad ones.
Thank you. #TeamOfUs #NZLvIRE #ShoulderToShoulder pic.twitter.com/ZziLkqoRko
Gutted for Rory, such a tough way to end but what a career he has had! A true great Irish player and captain!— Tommy Bowe (@TommyBowe) October 19, 2019