Full Ireland ratings as All Blacks battered by ferocious, brilliant performance
IRELAND 29-20 NEW ZEALAND
As big a nine-point victory as you will ever see. Our full Ireland ratings are crammed with heroes after a sensational win.
Ireland got off to an excellent start as they thundered into tackles and were ferocious at the breakdown. Codie Taylor was sin-binned for going too high on Johnny Sexton, with Ireland making them pay when James Lowe scored in the corner.
Sexton missed his conversion and New Zealand trailed by only two when Taylor returned after a Jordie Barrett penalty. Then, after Ireland had a Tadhg Furlong try ruled out, Taylor made them pay for switching off at a lineout. Ireland had pummelled the visitors but still trailed 10-5 at half-time.
Many Irish fans would have been forgiving for fearing Ireland would punch themselves out after that breathless first half. It was not the case in the early stages of the second half.
Strong runs from James Ryan, Caelan Doris and Garry Ringrose has the Kiwis back on their tryline and it was Ronán Kelleher that, this time, made it count:
Ronán Kelleher muscles his way over!! pic.twitter.com/iFZDxGPqiN
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) November 13, 2021
Sexton missed a second conversion but on Ireland came. Ringrose and Josh van der Flier made some great defensive hits and, when Ireland had won back possession, Caelan Doris scored a blinder after stepping the covering defender.
Sexton converted that try and added another, on 56 minutes, when Taylor was pinged for a deliberate knock-on. Ireland were pressing for more scores, but the All Blacks struck next as Will Jordan started an finished an attack, over on the left wing.
New Zealand emptied the bench and thought they had scored through Akira Ioane, but they were called back for a forward pass and Jordie Barrett was left to reduce arrears with a simple penalty. It was 23-20 to the hosts with 10 minutes to go.
It the end, Ireland kept their boot on Kiwi necks and Carbery added two penalties to make it comfortable.
Here's how we rated Andy Farrell's men in green:
IRELAND PLAYER RATINGS
Hugo Keenan - 8
Couldn't hold onto an early steepler but excellent thereafter. Needed Lowe to help him after missing Jordan on the wing, but repaid the favour in the second half. Made a lovely take after claiming a cross-field kick but should have held onto the ball.
Andrew Conway - 8
Was unlucky - after a bright opening - to be penalised for tackling Jordie Barrett in the air. Teamed up with Ringrose to repel a charging Barrett near the tryline. Penalised, late on, for going off his feet after a hard kick-chase.
Garry Ringrose - 9
Tigerish and inspirational. Took a cruncher to the head as he prevented a Jordie Barrett score. Was stepping up with big plays, in attack and defence, every time you looked.
Bundee Aki - 9
Started with menacing intent, and kept his foot flat to the mat. Made a lot of those first-up carries. Teamed up with Tadhg Beirne to make a big turnover.
James Lowe - 10
Made a try-saving tackle on Will Jordan as he covered superbly for Hugo Keenan. Stayed wide and came onto Keenan's pass like a train, for his try. His defence was on point, caught well in the air, unleashed some clearing kick cannons and made a number of big tackles and carries.
Johnny Sexton - 7
In the wars - when is he not? - as he probed and cajoled. Was winding up the Kiwis no end, but also irking the referee with some comments. Settled himself after two conversion misses to find the target with his next two kicks.
Jamison Gibson-Park - 8
Varied his passing well to keep the ABs guessing. Knocked on, under pressure, just metres from the tryline. Played at a high tempo and took somr risks that were rewarded.
Andrew Porter - 8
Played with some real bite and carried superbly. Held his own at the scrum too. Put in a huge, tireless shift for 75 minutes. So impressive.
Ronán Kelleher - 8
Stepped up with a crucial intercept just off his tryline. Over-threw a lineout, soon after, then pancaked Beauden Barrett. Pinged for a double movement that ruled out a Furlong try. Drifted forward and opened a gap for that Taylor try.
Tadhg Furlong - 8
Started like a train. Forced an early Savea knock-on after making some nice carries. Minutes after he had a great try chalked off, he was caught all-watching for that Codie Taylor try.
Iain Henderson - 7
Penalised early on for tackling out the jackaler. Stepped up, soon after, with a nice turnover. Still getting back to full fitness.
James Ryan - 9
Was the go-to guy for the big lineouts, even as he jumped under huge pressure. Stole two ABs lineout, too, and made a couple of strong carries.
Caelan Doris - 10
Came flying at Savea to force an early spill. Made a nice block on a Barrett grubber, and a lineout steal too. Was constantly delivering front-foot ball. Superb step and run for Ireland's third try.
Josh van der Flier - 9
Was steaming into tackles, straight from the get-go. Never let up and forced countless errors with his ferocity. Was lighting up lads in black jerseys all day.
Jack Conan - 8
Should have ran the ball longer, on an early break, before passing to Conway. Made a couple of big carries that got well over the gainline.
Tadhg Beirne (for Henderson '48) - 9
Won a crucial turnover when he teamed up with Aki. Turned over Retallick but the ball spilled forward. Won a THIRD at the death.
Peter O'Mahony (for van der Flier '58) - 8
Won a turnover just after coming on. Won another that Carbery converted for three points.
Rob Herring (for Kelleher '58) - 5
Gave up a free-kick to the ABs for taking too long with a lineout throw.
Joey Carbery (for Sexton '62) - 8
Stayed on after Sexton went off for a HIA. Landed a huge, clutch penalty, and clinched it at the end.
Finlay Bealham (for Furlong '65) - 6
Gave away a couple of penalties after coming on.
Conor Murray (for Gibson-Park '71) - 7
Keith Earls (for Aki '71) - 7
Cian Healy (for Porter '75) - N/A