Ireland made history last weekend when they won their first Test against the All Blacks in New Zealand, and they’ve done it again with a 32-22 win at Sky Stadium to seal a famous series win.
Andy Farrell’s men led 22-3 at half-time and while the All Blacks closed to within three points in the 60th minute, Rob Herring’s try put the result beyond doubt.
The defeat leaves Ian Foster’s grip on the All Blacks coaching job in major doubt.
Saturday’s defeat was the All Blacks’ fourth from their past five Tests under Foster, who was promoted from assistant coach when Steve Hansen stood down following the 2019 World Cup.
Foster edged out three-time Super Rugby winner Scott Robertson for the role, but the calls are becoming deafening for him to take over after leading the Crusaders to their sixth straight title in June.
The All Blacks had a majority of possession in the opening term, but the visitors were far more clinical with their opportunities with the ball.
For the third straight Test the Irish struck first. World class flanker Josh van der Flier scored in the fourth minute from a rolling maul.
The All Blacks had chances, but couldn’t make the most of their early opportunities including an early shot at goals from Jordie Barrett.
Eventually the fullback struck back, as Sam Cane opted for another shot at goals in front of the sticks and this time Barrett made no mistakes.
New Zealand-born winger James Lowe played a crucial part in Ireland’s second try of the decider.
Lowe combined brilliantly with former Junior Wallaby Mack Hansen and broke down the left edge, before a brilliant no-look pass sent fullback Hugo Keenan over for a five-pointer.
Flyhalf Johnny Sexton converted a long-range penalty goal shortly after to extend their lead to 15-3.
But Ireland weren’t done, with some Bundee Aki brilliance sending midfielder partner Robbie Henshaw over for a score in the dying stages of the half.
As expected the All Blacks rallied after half-time.
No.8 Ardie Savea fought his way to the try-line for a crucial score early-on after having had his hands on the ball at least three times in the lead-up to the score.
The game took another twist when Irish front-rower Andrew Porter was shown a yellow card for a front-on head clash with All Blacks lock Brodie Retaliick. The incident was very similar to the red card that was shown to Angus Ta’avao, but experienced referee Wayne Barnes instead settled on hanging the Irish prop a yellow card.
New Zealand made the most of Ireland’s discipline, with referee Wayne Barnes showing Irish prop Andrew Porter a yellow card.
When Savea’s back-row teammate Akira Ioane crossed it looked the kings of comeback rugby were coming home with a wet sail.
A penalty to Johnny Sexton in the 56th minute stopped the bleeding.
But when flying winger Will Jordan ran 75 metres to score an epic try the Wellington crowd burst into a frenzy. The belief was well and truly alive for All Blacks fans.
Ireland replacement Herring, however, stopped the party in New Zealand’s capital as he helped the visitors extend their lead to 10-points, with time very quickly becoming the home side’s worst enemy.
Despite the relentless attack of the All Blacks in the dying stages, Ireland had an answer for everything, and held on for a famous win.